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How to Diagnose Ford F-150 Wheel Bearing Hub Assembly

Diagnosing a wheel bearing concern can be a daunting task. Below we have simplified the process to help you quickly and accurately identify a wheel bearing issue on your Ford F-150.

Article contents

Faulty wheel bearing symptoms

  • Noise: Clicking, rumbling, groaning, grinding noise
  • Vibration, wobble, or shimmy
  • Abnormal tire wear
  • ABS light

Identifying a wheel bearing noise

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  • Drive the vehicle to confirm a wheel bearing noise is heard, make sure to test drive at both slow speeds and highway speeds
  • Check for a constant growling or groaning type sound that usually gets louder the faster the vehicles speed
Tip : Uneven or chopped tire wear can sometimes mimic wheel bearing noise, check for even tire wear before condemning noise as a faulty wheel bearing

Pinpoint noisy wheel bearing location

Watch

Difficulty: 1/5
Time required: 5 minutes
Tools Required: None

  1. Locate a smooth road with minimal traffic and remove or turn off noises such as the blower motor or radio
  2. Bring the vehicle up to the speed the noise is most noticeable
  3. Slightly turn the wheel back and forth, enough to shift the weight of the vehicle from side to side
  4. Listen for the noise to change and note which direction the noise sounds the loudest
Tip : Generally, which ever direction you are turning that the wheel bearing sounds the loudest, the opposite side wheel bearing is the issue. Example, if it is loudest turning left, then usually the right wheel bearing is the faulty one.

Checking wheel bearing for play or looseness

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Difficulty: 1/5
Time required: 15 minutes
Tools Required: Floor jack, Jack Stands

  1. Safely lift vehicle of the ground, if using a floor jack make sure to secure with jack stands!
  1. Grab the tire at the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock positions. Shake the tire in and out while feeling for any play in the wheel bearing. If looseness is felt the wheel bearing is faulty and will require replacement
Tip: If play is felt in the tire, make sure that it is not coming from a loose suspension component like a ball joint or control arm bushing

Free spin wheel bearing to confirm noise

Watch

Difficulty: 1/5
Time required: 15 minutes
Tools Required: Floor jack, Jack Stands, Stethoscope

  1. With vehicle in park/neutral, start the engine to allow engine vacuum to release the IWE actuator (DO NOT PUT THE VEHICLE IN GEAR)
  2. With the help of an assistant spin the tire by hand while listening to the wheel bearing. Due to the noise of engine running, a stethoscope may be needed to hear if the bearing is noisy.
  3. If the noise is confirmed, the wheel bearing will need to be replaced.
  4. Check out our installation page for detailed repair instructions
Tip: If a ratcheting or clicking sound is heard, it may be caused by a faulty IWE actuator

For more information, questions, or help diagnosing your vehicle, contact the GoTech technical support team via phone or chat below.