You may have a love-hate relationship with the state of Australian roads because you're used to experiencing a rough ride as you encounter some of the worst potholes on your daily drive. However, today you've noticed some strange vibrations when turning around left-hand bends and don't think that you can blame this on those long-suffering road engineers. What could this be?
If you ask a mechanic to diagnose this problem without actually looking at your car, they will probably associate it with faulty wheel bearings. These components sit in between the road wheel and the stub axle on each corner of your vehicle and allow the wheel to turn while the rest of the suspension components remain static. Vibration of this kind is most often associated with damaged bearings, especially if you only encounter the issue in one direction.
Inside the Bearing
Within the wheel bearing is a hodgepodge of metal balls and lubricating grease designed to help provide the interface between the static components and moving wheels. Bearings need to put up with a great deal of stress and high heat, as friction builds up when the vehicle is in motion. While they are certainly well engineered and can last for thousands of kilometres, they will eventually start to fail and provide you with some early warning.
What Goes Wrong
As soon as these bearings start to reach the end of their days, tiny scratches will begin to build up on the interior surface, and this imperfection will translate into a vibration when the wheel is turning. You should bear in mind, however, that the fault lies on the opposite side of the vehicle to the direction you are going, because this tyre and wheel assembly has further to travel (it turns a broader arc) and is consequently under more stress.
How to Replace
Wheel bearings are manufactured as one complete unit and cannot be disassembled. In order to replace them, they need to be removed using a special tool, and the replacement has to be pressed onto the stub axle with a lot of force. You are unlikely to have the right amount of equipment to do this in your own garage, so you need to get qualified personnel to help you. Furthermore, you must only choose authentic replacement parts for your vehicle, if you are to enjoy uninterrupted and vibration-free motoring in the future.
Seek out the auto parts provider who will have what you need for your specific make of car. For example, if you own a Mitsubishi, look for a business that sells Mitsubishi parts, so you can get the right wheel bearings for your car.