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What kind of wheel bearings are used on vehicles today? Counter Intelligence is NEXT!
Hi guys, it’s Mark Phillips. These days, many types of wheel bearings are used on vehicles. Most wheel bearings on late-model vehicles are part of a sealed hub assembly or cartridge. Sealed hub assemblies may be used on front-wheel drive as well as rear-wheel drive cars and trucks. Press-fit cartridge-style wheel bearings are often used in the knuckles of front-wheel drive cars. Bolt-on hub assemblies, where the wheel bearings are sealed inside the hub, also are commonly used both front and rear on many vehicles. Sealed cartridges or hub assemblies do not require periodic maintenance or adjustments. However, they should be inspected when rotating tires, doing a brake job or other suspension-related repairs to make sure they are in good condition.
A sealed hub assembly or bearing cartridge typically contains two sets of bearings: an inner set and an outer set. They may be ball bearings or tapered roller bearings. Tapered bearings have cylindrical rollers between the inner and outer race. The rollers are held in place by a steel or phenolic cage. The rollers are larger on one end than the other and rotate in a cone-shaped path. This allows the bearing to handle sideways loads and well as vertical loads. The larger surface area of tapered bearings allows them to support greater loads than ball bearings, which is why tapered bearings are often used in larger, heavier vehicles.
Double row ball bearings have round steel balls between the inner and outer race. Like roller bearings, the balls are held in place by a steel cage. Ball bearings are less expensive to manufacture than tapered bearings, and produce less friction, which helps improve fuel economy. However, ball bearings don’t handle severe side loads as well as tapered bearings. As such, they may not stand up well to severe side loading created by hard cornering or racing. Now about materials: Wheel bearings are made of high-grade steel, and the inner and outer races — called the cone and cup — as well as the rollers or balls are all heat-treated to harden their outer surfaces. This improves wear resistance and the bearing’s ability to handle loads. Most wheel bearings are capable of lasting upward of 200,000 miles under normal driving conditions. Again, there are several types of wheel bearings used on vehicles today. And some are better than others, depending on their application. I’m Mark Phillips. And thanks for watching.