Front wheel thumping

The front passenger's side wheel started thumping when going uphill. Could it be the wheel bearing?
Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
It could be from the bearing, or from a tire with a bubble or tread separation. I recommend having a mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, run a diagnostic on the source of the noise in order to identify and quote the repairs needed.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

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When the wheel bearing in your tires is damaged or deteriorating, it produces a soft humming sound or grinding noise when you change lanes. It`s best to have the wheel bearings replaced as soon as possible to prevent excessive damage and collisions.
What causes wheel bearing noise? Over time these bearings can become loose or worn. This wear will be accelerated if the grease has leaked out or dirt, grit or water have found their way inside. The first time you may know you have a problem is at a service or MoT test.
Squealing & Growling

The classic sounds of a bad wheel bearing are cyclic chirping, squealing and/or growling noise. You can also tell that the sound is related to wheel bearings if it changes in proportion to vehicle speed. The sound can get worse with every turn, or it can disappear momentarily.

When a wheel hub bearing wears out, it puts extra stress on the CV-joint. That can cause the knocking/clunking noise when you turn the vehicle.
A worn wheel bearing can cause a howling noise. If you`re also hearing a rumbling noise when turning, then it`s likely a bad wheel bearing. You may also trace this noise to a loose pinion-bearing preload. It`s likely the case when you only hear the noise when decelerating.
The most common failure pattern for wheel bearings is for those on the passenger side of the vehicle to fail first. The passenger side bearings are exposed to the most standing water in the gutter.
How can you stop a wheel bearing making noise? Unfortunately you can`t: the only solution to a worn, noisy wheel bearing is to have it replaced by a garage; bearings are not repairable.
That clunking noise you hear from the front end of your car when driving over a bump can be telling of an issue with your car`s suspension. More specifically, the problem is with your control arms or suspension system struts. This damage can occur if you are off-road or roughly going over potholes.
A clunking, rattling, or squeaking noise from your front end while driving can be annoying and unnerving. Oftentimes, this noisy symptom means there is a problem with your vehicle`s suspension system. These sounds typically occur when driving over uneven surfaces, bumps, or potholes.
“Womp womp” tire suspects include alignment issues, worn suspension parts, and improper tire inflation. You can solve this mystery by: Taking your vehicle in for a professional wheel alignment. Getting a safety inspection to identify parts that need replacement or repair.
A sure sign that your bearing has failed is vibration. If the raceway surface of the bearing becomes damaged by abrasion, the rolling elements (the balls or rollers) will bounce around on the raceway surface during operation, causing high levels of vibration.
Driving with worn wheel bearings can cause serious damage to your drive-axle and steering assembly and ultimately be a major safety hazard. Driving on a bad wheel bearing puts stress on the hub and CV joint, brake system components, and ultimately on the transmission itself.
Damaged or worn wheel bearings

Designed to secure the wheel hub to the vehicle`s suspension, and allow the wheels to turn properly, these safety critical components can cause steering wheel vibration if damaged or not lubricated sufficiently. In this instance, the steering wheel will usually only shake when turning.

Brake rotors are held in alignment by wheel bearings. If you have a faulty or loose wheel bearing, the rotor will wobble on its axis. This wobble causes the rotor to push the caliper piston into its bore (See Image 2). Now, when you hit the brake pedal, the piston has to travel farther than normal to apply the brakes.
If Only One Bearing Is Bad, Do I Have To Replace Them Both? No. Your car`s wheel bearings are entirely separate, and a failure in one bearing does not affect the others. You only need to replace the bearing that has failed.
A worn outer CV joint will produce loud clicking noises when you turn sharply. Usually, this noise will increase with acceleration. A worn inner CV joint can cause loud clunking noises when switching between drive and reverse.
If the bearing noise has been growing gradually, then without suggesting it is “okay” to drive 200 miles, the noise may just grow worse over that distance. If the bearing noise appeared out of nowhere, then that suggests an immediate failure potential and should be changed BEFORE a 200 mile drive.
1. Lubrication Failure. According to a recent study, up to 80 percent of bearing failures are caused by improper lubrication. This includes insufficient lubrication, use of improper lubricants or excessive temperatures that degrade the lubricant.
Bearings usually make a growling noise, low pitch, rises with speed. Tires can make all types of sounds and bad alignment can screw up a tire so that it is noisy when fixed. That usually goes away with time. Bearings usually get worse with time.
Did you know a spray of WD-40 Specialist White Lithium Grease is a great lithium lubricant for bearings? It reduces friction on bearings and helps keep them protected from rust as well. Simply apply by spraying directly onto the area.
A telltale sign that your vibration may be caused by a faulty CV joint is if you also hear a clicking or clunking noise when turning. Also known as engine mounts, motor mounts hold your car`s engine in place.
Q: Is it safe to drive with a bad wheel bearing? A: No. It can, in fact, be very dangerous to drive if one of your bearings is worn out, especially since it may cause the wheel to stop while driving. Additionally, a damaged wheel bearing puts a lot of stress on the hub, the CV joint, and the transmission itself.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Can front wheel drive car engine power rear wheel drive
ANSWER : Anything is possible with enough engineering. The changes you are looking at would take major structural changes and would definitely not be an easy job. You could possibly consult a manufacturing engineer to get more details on how this could actually be carried out and whether it would be feasible.

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My front wheels are locked when I switched to four wheel drive.
ANSWER : If your transfer case can switch from 2 HI, 4 Hi, and 4 LOW, then there is nothing wrong with the transfer case. There seems to be an issue with the front locking solenoid and it may be stuck in the wrong position. Try backing up the vehicle with the transfer case in 2 HI and see if the front wheels unlock themselves. If they do, then you would need to replace the front locking solenoid. If the wheels stay locked, then a bearing may have collapsed. If you need further assistance with your front wheels locking up in 4WD, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.

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If i supply both front wheel hub assemblies, what will the total installation cost be to?
ANSWER : Sent billing question to CS for installation of the front wheel hub assemblies.

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How to make front wheel drive car to a rare wheel or all wheel drive
ANSWER : You would be better off trading the vehicle out for a vehicle that has all wheel drive. There is no way to add the additional drive you want.

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4 wheel high wont work, 2 wheel and 4 wheel low will. 1997 GMC Sierra Electronic shift (of course). Replaced the front axel actuat
ANSWER : You are correct to think that the transfer case itself or the control module for it could be causing this issue. The only other possibility would be a wiring issue directly behind the switch preventing the four wheel drive high setting from working properly. I would enlist in the assistance of a qualified professional to check your four wheel drive circuit with a wiring diagram and digital multimeter to determine if the issue is electrical or mechanical. Once this has been done, the correct repair procedure can be identified.

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Rattling from behind wheel well of front passenger that gets worse with speed as well as a thumping from front passenger tire
ANSWER : Thumping noise like that you are describing can be due to a tire defect, for example a flat spot on the tire. If you have that particular defect though, that usually means the strut is bad. Rattling noises at idle, when the car is not moving, originate in the engine, the transmission (torque converter runs even at idle), and/or the accessory drives. If the sound occurs when the car is stationary, if the sound is not really obvious (pinpointed) on the mechanic’s initial inspection, a quick diagnostic can be performed by simply taking all of the belt driven accessories out of the picture by disconnecting the drive belts and then very briefly running the engine. If the sound disappears, the faulty component is then isolated amongst the accessories and pulleys. If the sounds does not disappear, that means the noise originates within the engine and/or transmission. If the thumping sound occurs only once the car is moving, remote wireless microphones can be used to identify the wheel position that the noise originates from and at which there could be a tire issue. If you want these steps performed by a certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, please request a vehicle noise diagnostic and the responding certified mechanic will get this resolved for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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I hear an abnormal noise from front driver’s side wheel. It sounds like a wheel bearing but not sure.
ANSWER : A wheel bearing noise can be different between vehicles as some designs may vary a little. The most common is a roaring noise that may change when going around turns. It may be louder going in one direction or the other or just make a loud noise all of the time. The wheel hub presses into the wheel bearing. The hub is where the studs are for the wheel to be bolted onto the steering knuckle and the bearing provides the support for the wheel and weight of the vehicle. Consider hiring an experienced technician like one from YourMechanic who can come out and take a closer look at your wheel bearing noise to offer a more personal diagnosis.

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When I put my car up on the jack and the front wheel comes up and I go to loosen it the wheel hole wheel moves left to right like
ANSWER : What you are describing sounds like free play in the tie rods. Your car has enough miles on it for this to be a problem. The tie rods are the link between the steering gearbox and the front wheels and as they wear, they will develop a certain amount of free play. There are about six pieces there that can be replaced as needed to tighten things up again. You can contact Your Mechanic to have a technician come out to your home or office to check out your front end and advise you on which pieces need to be replaced. Don’t put this off too long. Eventually, a worn tie rod can separate, if that happens, you will lose control of the car.

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