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All About Hub Assemblies

Jul. 10, 2024

From navigating tight turns on winding country roads to changing lanes on the freeway, your vehicle's ability to steer precisely is crucial. Ever wondered what allows you to maneuver effortlessly? Surprisingly, a critical component enabling your steering is the wheel hub assembly.


What is a wheel hub assembly?


A wheel hub assembly is responsible for connecting the wheel to the car. It's a pre-assembled unit containing precision bearings, seals, and sensors. Known by various names like wheel hub bearing, hub assembly, wheel hub unit, or hub and bearing assembly, it plays a crucial role in your vehicle's steering system, ensuring safe and effective handling.


Where is it located?


The wheel hub assembly is positioned between the drive axle and the brake drums or discs on each wheel. It connects the wheel to the car via bolts on the brake disc side and is mounted to the steering knuckle on the drive axle side, either as a bolt-on or press-in assembly.


To access the wheel hub assembly, you'll need to remove the wheel, followed by the brake caliper and brake rotor.


Most vehicles manufactured since 1998 have a wheel hub assembly on each wheel. When the assembly malfunctions, it is typically replaced entirely. In contrast, older cars made before 1997 often feature individual bearings and seals for each front wheel in front-wheel-drive vehicles, while rear-wheel-drive vehicles use two separate bearings and seals in both front wheels. Unlike wheel hub assemblies, bearings can be serviced.


hub bearing

What does a hub assembly do?


The wheel hub assembly serves several crucial functions in your vehicle. Its primary role is to secure the wheel to the vehicle and enable smooth wheel rotation for safe steering.


Additionally, the hub assembly integrates essential components for the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and traction control system (TCS). Alongside bearings, hub assemblies house wheel speed sensors that monitor the rotational speed of each wheel. These sensors continuously relay data to the ABS control system, informing it about the wheel speeds. During sudden braking maneuvers, this information helps the ABS system decide whether to engage anti-lock braking to prevent wheel lock-up.


Furthermore, the traction control system utilizes the ABS wheel sensors to function effectively. Operating as an extension of the ABS, the TCS collaborates with the ABS to enhance vehicle stability and control. A malfunctioning sensor can compromise both the ABS and TCS, potentially affecting your vehicle's braking and traction performance.


Signs of a Bad Wheel Hub Assembly:


- Growling, humming, squeaking, chirping, or squealing noises from the tires, particularly noticeable at speeds between 30-45 mph.

- Steering wheel shaking or vibrating while driving.

- ABS light illuminating on the dashboard due to sensor reading issues or signal loss.


What can happen if I drive with a damaged wheel hub assembly?


Driving with a damaged wheel hub assembly is extremely hazardous. Worn-out bearings can lead to erratic wheel movement and instability, making your vehicle shake and compromising its handling. Worse yet, if the assembly deteriorates further, it could result in the wheel separating from the vehicle due to steel fractures.


If you suspect your wheel hub assembly is failing, it's crucial to promptly seek assistance from a qualified mechanic.


Explore our premium selection of steering and suspension parts, locate the right auto part for your vehicle, or find a reliable source to purchase your needed parts today.

hub bearing

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