Chevy Malibu

What are the symptoms of a bad wheel bearing on a 1998 Chevy Malibu?

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2006-06-20 07:00:56
2006-06-20 07:00:56

Excessive wheel bearing wear can progress in a matter of weeks or days, it's better to catch and fix it early than to risk losing a wheel. Symptoms can be sometimes confusing. My Malibu 98 had developed a ringing / grinding noise, only when accelerating while cornering to the same side. The problem was seen always at the same places on the road, getting worse in a course of 2 weeks. Asked at a Midas shop to check it, these "profi" checked the brakes and found nothing wrong, suggested to replace 50% worn pads for "better" ones. Then I walked into the shop myself and shook each wheel by hand while the car was lifted, - the front one was wobbling like crazy. Of course, after that, they diagnosed it 100% sure: bearing worn out critically, they won't let me out of the shop. Ringing and grinding was actually the brake, because of the wheel tilting to that side in a turn. Another case, on a different car: the rear bearing lost lubricant, the balls in the bearing turned into something like cubes and started rocking. It was a sound from the back like having a propeller there. When I looked at the wheel hub, there was a black "star" around it, apparently from burned lubricant. On Malibu you probably will not see the "star" because of a different hub design. And, yes, when lifted, the wheel was wobbling a lot, too. In any case, if a free hanging wheel has a wobble you can feel, it's a serious problem, you need to replace the bearing ASAP.

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