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Old 01-21-2005, 11:50 PM   #1
mattmgee
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Default Is it safe to drive on a bad wheel bearing?

Sounds like my 97 SL1 has a wheel bearing that is pretty bad. It's really vibrating a lot ... is this dangerous? I commute 100 miles a day can I get by on it til Tuesday when I can get it fixed or do I need to rent?
Thanks!!

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Old 01-22-2005, 08:31 AM   #2
eternalstdnt
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Default Re: Is it safe to drive on a bad wheel bearing?

If it helps, i just had a wheel bearing go out on my 200SL1. I took it to a local mechanic to have the vibration diagnosed, and he told me it wasnt uncommon to drive around on it for up to a year. He said the noise and vibration would get worse, but it wouldnt hurt anything. I then went to the Saturn Dealership and made an appointment for the next week, and they told me pretty much the same thing, that its fine to drive on but would just be annoying. As someone who doesnt know a whole lot about mechanics, I just took their advice and drove normally, and all was well until the next week when the dealership replaced the bearing and put my chariot back to perfect - cost about 380 though, so that wasnt a nice bill to pay! Hope this helps!

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Old 01-22-2005, 08:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: Is it safe to drive on a bad wheel bearing?

Maybe you can jack up the affected wheel: push, pull, report the slop. Check your ball joints and tie rod ends too, just for grins.

It's my understanding these things take a while to get bad. So how long has this been going on?

You should probably rent.

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Old 01-22-2005, 11:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: Is it safe to drive on a bad wheel bearing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattmgee
Sounds like my 97 SL1 has a wheel bearing that is pretty bad. It's really vibrating a lot ... is this dangerous? I commute 100 miles a day can I get by on it til Tuesday when I can get it fixed or do I need to rent?
Thanks!!

i have a funny story about that, actually... i blew out a wheel bearing at a cen-div solo2 event in oscoda, mi. (3 hrs from home). since i never experienced a blown wheel bearing before, i thought it was a diff pin problem (i had been doing some extreme 1 wheel burnouts earlier that day on course). i towed my car home (rented a tow dolly), removed AND rebuilt the tranny before i realized it was a wheel bearing. imagine my amazement when i took out the diff and nothing was wrong with it.

i immediately came to my senses, removed the hub and took it to a garage where a new bearing was pressed in... car is now fine AND i now know how to rebuild a transmission...

i felt really stupid for really long....

yeah, you can drive on those for awhile, nothing bad should happen...


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Old 01-22-2005, 04:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Is it safe to drive on a bad wheel bearing?

I got a bad bearing on my car right now...I found out about it like 3 months ago, and think it happened over summer. No biggie, but still not recommended. Im gonna fix mine sometime soon hopefully.

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Old 01-22-2005, 10:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is it safe to drive on a bad wheel bearing?

Quote:
I commute 100 miles a day can I get by on it til Tuesday when I can get it fixed or do I need to rent?
My son had one on his 96SL1 that was so loud and vibrated so badly, that you couldn't drive it more than 45 MPH. He thought it was his exhaust system

BTW, I don't recall how much my local tire and brake shop charged to replace his, but it was nowhere near $380.

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Old 01-22-2005, 11:23 PM   #7
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Default Re: Is it safe to drive on a bad wheel bearing?

I was told to NEVER drive with a bad wheel bearing, its stupid not to get it fixed asap, I had a wheel bearing go buh-bye and i wasn't all to happy afterworth.

I got mine replaced for about 200 if that at my saturrn dealership also a control arm had to be replaced.

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Old 01-22-2005, 11:34 PM   #8
jeep4523
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Default Re: Is it safe to drive on a bad wheel bearing?

I finally got mine replaced after a week of 16 mile per-way driving.

You guys are gonna hate me, but $27 later and a $30 alignment later my car is fixed.

$27=bearing with snap ring after tax

$0=shop labor

$0=install labor (me doing it with my own pnuematics and hand tools)

$30=alginment at saturn from a tech after hours



Just a hint though for anybody doing the driver's side, drain the tranny fluid first (axle has a high likelyhood of coming out), and don't use a pickle fork to seperate anything. I jacked up the hub, spun the castle nut almost all the way off, and then shoved a 3' crow bar up there and lifted, and it popped the ball joint right off. Tie rod end just take off the nut and take off the 2 bolts on the shock and you should be able to just push it out by hand.

Take off the axle nut, and while holding the knuckle in your hand and keeping it in mid-air, lightly tap the axle end with a rubber mallet, and it should come right off.

Passenger side, same thing, but you probably won't have to worry about the tranny fluid.

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Old 01-23-2005, 03:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: Is it safe to drive on a bad wheel bearing?

Quote:
Sounds like my 97 SL1 has a wheel bearing that is pretty bad. It's really vibrating a lot ... is this dangerous? I commute 100 miles a day can I get by on it til Tuesday when I can get it fixed or do I need to rent?
that depends how bad it is. ignore it too long and your tire/wheel could fall off. you didn't mention if you're talking about the front or rear. the fronts are more fun to replace since you have to take everything apart AND there's a chance that the bad wheel bearing cracked in half which could ruin the hub and make removing it from the knuckle a pain. make sure you have a hub and/or knuckle available just in case. now the rear bearings are part of the hub and there's only one assembly to replace.

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Old 01-23-2005, 04:49 PM   #10
mattmgee
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Default Re: Is it safe to drive on a bad wheel bearing?

Well I jacked up my front end and took off the front wheels to check out the brake pads .. which are fine .. put wheels back on .. obviously .. now vibration is like 60% gone .. still making some noise but way less ... can a wheel bearing make noise consistantly and then reduce dramatically like this ??

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Old 01-26-2005, 04:51 AM   #11
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Default Re: Is it safe to drive on a bad wheel bearing?

It could cause problems I would fix it a.s.a.p., I just replaced the right rear hub on mine, the assembly was bent slightly and produced a wobbly wheel, I was worried it might cause my right rear tire to wear unevenly or wear out the brakes on that wheel faster. Driving down the road with the old hub the roadnoise was loud and at times unbareable but now it's quiet as a mouse.

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Old 02-02-2005, 01:21 PM   #12
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Default Re: Is it safe to drive on a bad wheel bearing?

i drove on a bad bearing for damn near a year.my blood pressure was high when i was on the free way but i manged.but you never know,the wheel could snap.

i just fixed mine 2 weeks ago.i bought a bearing for $40 but after taking the wheel assembly off and realizing i couldnt take out the actual bearing with out a lotta help and money (bearings are packed).i went to a junk yard and took off the whole wheel knuckle and put it on my car for $36.do it that way and your gonna save a gang of money and time.

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Old 02-02-2005, 03:06 PM   #13
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Default Re: Is it safe to drive on a bad wheel bearing?

I would do the above ONLY if you can see the odometer of the car from whence the knuckle/hub comes, or if (as most "junkyards" do these days) the part has already been pulled, the odometer reading was recorded with it. You may well be buying yourself only a few thousand miles before you're right back to square one.

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Old 02-02-2005, 03:56 PM   #14
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Default Re: Is it safe to drive on a bad wheel bearing?

i went to a junk yard where you pull it your self (Pick-N-Pull),the car had less miles then mine.but yeah,it may not last forever but im planning on buying a new car this year.and it was gonna cost me ALOT more money to get the old bearing pressed out and a new one pressed back in.but yeah,if you can,just get a new bearing.

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Old 02-02-2005, 04:13 PM   #15
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Default Re: Is it safe to drive on a bad wheel bearing?

If you already have the knuckle out, doesn't cost more than $10 to get the bearing pressed it, at least around where I live.

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Old 02-02-2005, 04:40 PM   #16
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Default Re: Is it safe to drive on a bad wheel bearing?

aww man,take that back.from what i understand it was gonna cost alot more then that.but this was a sunday,so nothin was open anyway.but thanks for the knowledge.hopefully i wont have to use it with this car tho.

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Old 02-02-2005, 08:44 PM   #17
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Default Re: Is it safe to drive on a bad wheel bearing?

Just had my front left bearing replaced today on the 2000 SL2. There was no vibration, but it sounded like a train in the car, growl!!!! The mech at Saturn said it was really one of the worst he's seen.

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