Why a Wheel Hub Assembly Is So Important

WATCH: Why a Wheel Hub Assembly Is So Important

Made of precision-manufactured bearings, seals and sensors in one pre-assembled unit, a wheel hub bearing unit is critical to performance — from the smoothness of the ride, to fuel efficiency and the integrity of anti-lock braking systems.

Though you may never even see it, a wheel hub bearing unit is an important part of a car’s wheel assembly, enabling wheels to turn freely and playing a crucial role in the safety and handling characteristics of a vehicle. Made of precision-manufactured bearings, seals and sensors in one pre-assembled unit, a wheel hub bearing unit is critical to performance — from the smoothness of the ride, fuel efficiency and to the integrity of anti-lock braking systems. But you might say hub units are so expensive! What don’t people use these “value grade” units? Many manufacturers sell replacement hub bearings that are very low priced and may seem like a great value at first.

Unfortunately, with that low price, you’re going to get a low-quality hub bearing that is inferior to a premium, OE-quality hub bearing. The industry calls these hubs “value grade,” and experience has shown that these low-performing, value-grade hubs are no real value in the long run. In fact, many times these hubs last nowhere near what a premium hub does.

Another problem is their seals. A value grade hub’s seals can allow moisture and contaminants to enter and destroy the bearing prematurely. I mean, do you think your customer wants to replace a hub in as few as 10,000 miles? Some other problems? Value grade hubs can produce annoying wheel vibration and noise. They also can cause anti-lock braking systems to malfunction. And, in extreme cases, they can result in the wheel coming off — while the vehicle is in motion! Yikes!

So how do hub bearings affect braking safety? Hub bearings include the wheel speed sensor that controls the anti-lock braking system (ABS). This sensor sends a constant signal to the ABS control system, telling it how fast each wheel is turning. In an emergency situation, the ABS control system will determine if anti-lock braking is required. If the ABS sensor doesn’t work properly or fails, the ABS system fails, so the quality of this sensor — how it is made and protected from damage — is critical to braking safety. And a word about traction control.

You might wonder why hub bearings are critical to traction control systems? A vehicle’s traction control system uses a combination of electronic drivetrain controls in conjunction with the ABS system. Since it uses the same wheel speed sensors and components as the ABS system, it can be considered a subsystem and extension of that system. Together, anti-lock braking and the traction control system work to provide the driver with full control over the vehicle.

You May Also Like

Schaeffler and Sustainability with Jerry Conroy

Conroy shares insights into his career trajectory, the evolving landscape of the company’s aftermarket operations, and its commitment to innovation and sustainability.

In this episode of AMN Drivetime, Bill Babcox is joined by Jerry Conroy, vice president USA and Canada, Automotive Aftermarket for Schaeffler. Conroy shared insights into his career trajectory, mentorship experiences, and the evolving landscape of aftermarket operations.

Conroy's journey into the aftermarket began during his college years. He stumbled upon an internship at Bendix, a commercial vehicle supplier based in Elyria, Ohio—his hometown. Little did he know that this opportunity would kickstart a career spanning 17 years at Bendix, and later transition into a leadership role at Schaeffler in the automotive aftermarket.

MEMA Launches At-Home REPAIR Campaign

The next step in the campaign to get the REPAIR Act passed is to get aftermarket suppliers involved.

Shaw Assumes Leadership of MEMA Original Equipment Suppliers

Collin Shaw succeeds Julie Fream who served 10 years in the position.

AACF Launches 65th Anniversary Fundraising Initiative

The campaign aims to raise $65,000 through 1,000 donations of $65 each.

Schaeffler Publishes 2023 Sustainability Report 

Schaeffler was awarded an “A” score in the climate change category for 2023 by the global non-profit environmental organization CDP for corporate transparency and performance.

Schaeffler Sustainability Report

Other Posts

Mastering Belt and Hose Replacement Strategies

Learn how recommending comprehensive replacement kits can streamline repairs, reduce comebacks, and enhance trust with customers.

Sway Bars and Linkages

The basic operation of a sway bar is quite simple.

Sway Bars and Linkages
Gear Ratios and Vehicle Performance

Just remember, there is no perfect gear ratio.

Gear Ratios and Vehicle Performance
Electronic Stability and Traction Control

Their components work together seamlessly to help keep the vehicle under control.

Electronic Stability and Traction Control