The condition of your vehicle's tires are important in keeping you, your family, and other motorists safe on the road. Worn or bald tires can cause you to lose control, especially on wet roads. However, the wheels and all the mechanisms and parts contained in them are also important, such as wheel bearings and ball joints. Should these types of parts fail while you are driving, you could easily lose control of your vehicle and cause an accident. Fortunately, there are usually warning signals and red flags that something is beginning to fail within your wheels. Here's what you need to know.
Listen for Strange Noises
If you hear a strange noise coming from your wheels when you are driving, such as clunking, grinding, and humming sounds, you should consider the noise to be a huge red flag that something is close to failing inside a wheel. Thumping and clunking noises can be caused by loose lug nuts or a bad ball joint. If you hear a strange noise, park your vehicle and call a towing service. The risk of losing control of your vehicle while driving it to a repair shop is too great.
Sometimes, you may only hear a noise when turning the vehicle in one direction or the other. Do not dismiss intermittent noise such as this, because it's a classic sign of a worn wheel bearing. A worn wheel bearing will produce more sound when there is more weight on that particular wheel, such as occurs in turns when the weight of the vehicle shifts.
Pay Attention to Strange Vibrations
Another warning sign that something may be wrong inside one or more wheels is when you feel a vibration, particularly in your gas pedal and/or brake pedal. The vibration may vary or remain constant, depending on the severity of the condition of the parts that are damaged or worn. If you feel vibrations in your gas or brake pedal, pull over and call a tow truck.
Vibrations in your steering wheel can also be concerning. The most common cause of steering wheel vibration is when the tires and wheels are out of alignment. Should this be the case, you should be able to safely drive your vehicle to a repair shop. However, avoid driving fast if the shaking gets worse at higher speeds. However, bad wheel bearings and suspension problems can also cause steering wheels to vibrate. Instead of taking the chance, call for a roadside repair service, like Engel's Auto Service & Towing, instead of driving the vehicle any further.