How to Maintain Your Vehicle

Symptoms of Bad Bearings in the Final Drive

The final drive is a vital cog in the power transmission system of your car. It is the last set of gears in the front axle of front-wheel-drive vehicles and in the rear axle of rear-wheel-drive vehicles. The proper functioning of the final drive is essential for keeping shafts and gears in position and properly aligned. Like other mechanical components of a vehicle, the final drive can fail. One of the likely causes of final drive failure is bearing failure. 

The good news is that bearing failure in the final drive seldom occurs without warning. Here are some common signs of trouble to look out for:

Final Drive Gearbox Is Too Hot

Is your final drive gearbox too hot to the touch? This is a tell-tale symptom of bearing failure in the final drive. When the bearings fail, there will be an increase in friction between moving parts in the final drive. An increase in friction leads to increased heat, which causes overheating of the final drive gearbox.

It is important to note that there are other culprits behind an overheating final drive assembly. These include low gear oil levels, bad brakes and overheating hydraulic fluid. If the problem doesn't lie in these areas, then you might be experiencing final drive bearing malfunction.

Final Drive Produces Unusual Noises

Another warning sign of bearing failure in the final drive is strange noises coming from the final drive. The bearings tend to make howling, whining, clunking, grinding and other unusual sounds when they are failing. 

The noises are heard because of metal-to-metal contact that occurs in the final drive when bearings get worn out.

Final Drive Pulsates 

Bearings operating at top shape allow proper alignment and balance of the rotating components of your final drive. However, misalignments and imbalance of the shafts and gears will cause uneven rotations. These rotations may, in turn, lead to vibrations when the shafts and gears are engaged at high speeds. 

Strong vibrations coming from the final drive are another potential sign of bad bearings that shouldn't be ignored.

Final Drive Gets Stuck

The various rotating parts in your final drive depend on bearings to keep turning. If the bearings get worn due to normal use, your final drive may completely fail to turn or completely lock up. When this happens, you will need new bearings to get your final drive working properly again.

Bearings are vital for keeping the rotating parts of the final drive working smoothly and efficiently. If you notice trouble with your bearings, take your car to a mechanic who offers transmission repairs.