How to Get to Grips with Your Car's Vibration
These days, the modern-day car is so quiet inside that you can hear a pin drop as you're driving. Imagine your consternation, therefore, when you're driving around a left-hand bend and you suddenly hear a strange drumming noise and feel a significant vibration through the steering wheel. You will, of course, need to find out what is wrong as soon as possible, so what is likely to be at the root of this issue?
Narrowing It Down
In most cases, these symptoms point to an issue with your wheel bearings. While there are many thousands of parts on a typical car, it's fairly easy to narrow down the culprit when presented with clear evidence, especially as engineers will have come across this problem many times before.
How Do Bearings Work?
Wheel bearings are very important components, as they form the bridge between a part of the car that does not move and one that does. In this case, they are fitted in between the suspension hub and the driving wheel, and they have to put up with a lot of abuse during their lives. Remember, they are transferring the power provided by the engine and gearbox to give the vehicle forward motion. In turn, they have to deal with a great deal of friction and resistance and are cleverly engineered for that purpose.
Within each bearing are thousands of tiny metallic balls which live in a mass of grease. They ensure that the wheel is able to turn even though it is mounted on a static object, and they are carefully designed to stop the buildup of heat in this situation.
Bearings are manufactured in one sealed unit and are not designed to be serviced, but rather replaced 'as one'. When they start to wear out, scratches will appear on the smooth surfaces within, and this leads to vibration. As the wheel turns, the bearing will rub against this imperfection, causing vibration and that distinctive sound.
Which One Is Faulty?
Remember, the faulty bearing is on the other side of the car in relation to your direction of travel. So, if you're turning left and you hear this noise, the bearing on the right is on its way out. In this scenario, the wheel on the opposite side is travelling a greater distance than its inside counterpart and, as a consequence, is coming under more pressure. As this happens, the sound and vibration will become louder until you readjust the steering.
Wheel bearings can only be changed by a qualified mechanic, as the job calls for a special tool to pull and subsequently press the component back on. You should book the vehicle in for car servicing as soon as possible, as you won't be able to get rid of this vibration until you do so.