How To Diagnose and Repair Tacoma Wheel Bearing Noise

How To Diagnose and Repair Tacoma Wheel Bearing Noise

25th Jul 2022

In the present day, the Toyota Tacoma is a recognizable truck with a reputation as the go-anywhere and everywhere Americanized pickup. Named in honor of the industrial city in Washington, this classic Toyota truck has come a long way since it hit the automotive market in 1995. From that moment on, each generation of the Tacoma has arrived with mechanical changes, improved design features, and enhanced technologies.

While this durable pickup provides impressive durability and off-road capability, the vehicle is not entirely unbreakable. Despite the truck’s structural strength and rigidity, various components can—and will—fail as the years go by. Older models are most vulnerable to these problems.

In the Tacoma, numerous common factors can affect the functionality of your wheel bearings, such as impact damage, poor road quality, and rough driving conditions. Does this sound like a problem your pickup is currently facing? Let’s closely examine how to diagnose and repair Tacoma wheel bearing noise. Read on to uncover the details you need for this maintenance task.

The Role of Wheel Bearings

Every vehicle on the road today uses wheels and tires to tackle the terrain, which is only possible with the installation of wheel bearings. Don’t overlook the importance of these primary parts. As a set of small steel balls held together with metal rings, wheel bearings are essential auto parts allowing the wheels of a vehicle to rotate with minimal rolling friction. When they function properly, these bearings enable the free spinning movement of wheels and support the weight of the car, SUV, or truck.

Each wheel has its own set of bearings to maintain smooth rotation. Different from engine bearings that need lubrication for operation, wheel bearings are maintenance-free and only need tight installation to prevent interruption or breakdown from dirt, water, or debris. The average lifespan of standard wheel bearings ranges up to 100,000 miles.

Why Tacoma Bearings May Fail

Experiencing wheel bearing malfunction is more common than people realize. Since the bearings support the truck’s entire weight during movement, you can’t escape their continual wear and tear over time. All bearings eventually fail due to axial forces. How soon they fail depends on your vehicle and your personal driving habits. Wheel bearings may fail due to damage from diverse driving conditions, automotive accidents, imbalanced tires, uneven roads, and even poor installation.

However, since these ball bearings are not part of regular maintenance checks, Tacoma owners may not be aware of their current operational level until the parts eventually wear down. Replacing bearings as soon as possible is crucial. Don’t ignore the symptoms of sudden or premature bearing failure. Defective bearings are dangerous and will give you more than just troubling noises. You could even lock up or lose a wheel when on the road.

Diagnosis: Noticeable Signs To Look For

All noises stemming from vehicles during regular use are bad news. If you hear odd noises and think you might need to repair your pickup, it’s time to schedule a thorough inspection to ensure the correct diagnosis. You need to find the source of the noise and the exact cause of the sound. Bearing noise is noticeably different from other sounds that indicate potential part problems.

If you’re aiming to diagnose and repair Tacoma wheel bearing noise, it’s time to take a test drive. A test drive around the local area is the best detection method. Focus on identifying any unusual sounds or vibrating movements that may increase from changes in speed or direction.

Audible Irregular Sounds

Think of this diagnosis similarly to the miserable squeaking of brakes. You can’t ignore the fact that something is off. Listen for a distinguishable grinding, rumbling, or clanking sound around the truck's wheels. These noises may increase in volume or intensity during acceleration. If the noise persists or worsens when you pick up speed, you may have defective front or rear bearings. Expect to hear whirring, howling, humming, or even clicking depending on how the bearing in question fails to support the weight of the pickup.

Increased Noise Volume When Turning

Physics can also help properly diagnose the problem. Pay close attention to any audible sounds during turns. Wheel bearing noises amplify when turning or cornering, when the weight of the truck transfers over to one side. If you hear something, make sure the source of the loud noise is not tire misalignment. Bearing issues have different symptoms than misaligned wheels but can cause similar noises.

Proper Steps of Maintenance and Repair

For safety purposes, immediate replacement is a necessity if any of the four bearings have failed. A wheel bearing that does not do its job can place increased stress on other parts of the vehicle and cause further damage that’s even more costly. The best practice is to take your Tacoma to an auto repair shop for a professional inspection. A mechanic can confirm bearing damage in the front or rear wheels and ensure you know which parts need replacement.

Finding Parts for Replacement: Quality Matters

Removing and replacing a faulty wheel bearing is a straightforward job for those who have mechanical experience or automotive knowledge. If you’d like assistance, you can find and purchase the parts you need for your model year and have a shop finish the job. The cost and time put into repair work may differ depending on the age and mileage of your Tacoma.

Remember—similar to any automotive part—the quality level of an installed wheel bearing makes all the difference. A higher-quality grade will ensure the parts last as long as possible, so you get the best value for your buck. Ball bearings are products of precision that require complex processes for manufacturing. Using a lower quality steel bearing with poor heat treatment will lead to failure much quicker. Avoid premature excessive wear by working with a trusted source and investing in strong and reliable wheel bearings from trustworthy auto manufacturers.

Expertise When You Need It Most

Look no further than NW Team Yota for high-quality Toyota Tacoma parts. As enthused Toyota specialists, we carry a wide range of automotive products for Tacoma models in our online parts catalog. Browse our reliable selection of auto parts, which includes your choice of wheel bearings from a variety of notable manufacturers. See the difference that can make for yourself today.

How To Diagnose and Repair Tacoma Wheel Bearing Noise