This time I want to talk about problems that technicians often overlook.

Now, right here we have a hub or axle bearing that is a sealed unit and this is what’s become commonplace on virtually all modern vehicles. Well, not all of them though. See this one no service… if it wears you you replace it that’s it, but there’s still lots and lots of vehicles on the road that have the older style tapered rollered bearings in them you know a lot of trucks and vans and so on, and those need periodic servicing. You have to refer to your owner’s manual for what the frequency of service is or ask your technician, but the big thing is we’re dealing with a bearing like this that is replaceable that is serviceable.

You have to take the rotor off, you have to disassemble everything… put special wheel bearing grease into that bearing… and then reassemble it and adjust it and so on. If you don’t do that, here’s what happens. This one has gone dry on grease… the bearing seized up… it came apart… it destroyed the spindle that it rides on… it destroyed the rotor… a massive repair job for lack of a few cents worth of grease. So make sure you understand if your car has serviceable axle or wheel bearings in it and if it does make sure that your technician checks them services them as needed. 

Alright now, here’s something… virtually all cars have some kind of a steering shaft below the steering wheel. You have to have some way to connect the steering wheel to the steering rack or steering box. Now, these things are made up of usually two universal joints, sometimes only one… but they have in many cases this slide joint in the middle of them. So as the body of the vehicle flexes, this thing can grow or compress.

Alright, pick-up trucks in particular, they have one like this and in many cases what you’ll find is this center… this sliding section in here it wears and you get this horrible rattling noise at low speeds over very small bumps. We’ve seen cars into the shop with all kinds of new parts and this is still bad because they couldn’t get rid of the rattle by replacing other parts and the tech forgot to check this.

Now the universal joints on the end of it. Here we have the new one… the U joint will move in both directions really nice and smoothly. Over here we have a used one. This one moves not too bad in that direction, but we try to move it in this direction and we can’t do it. That meant as we turned the steering wheel on this vehicle it went thunk… thunk… thunk.  It bound up and then released. Well again, all kinds of parts replaced and so on… the problem was still there because the technician forgot to check these U joints. So, these are a couple of things you want to be aware of and make sure if you take your car in for repair that they get checked.

And if you have a question or  comment drop me a line right here at Motorweek.