They may seem small, but what they do is in no way small. They support the weight of your vehicle and distribute it evenly among all the four wheels. In other words, they provide a smooth and even surface on which the four wheels can turn. Without them, you won’t be able to have a smooth ride. That is not all though. Your Porsche wheel bearings also absorb heat and friction generated as you drive.
How They Work
They are ‘easy’ parts with complex jobs. The advent of more sophisticated computer-controlled braking systems for Porsche models has made bearings more complex. Initially, all a mechanic needed to do was to remove the old worn out parts then replace them with new ones and fill the area around the bearing with grease. This is not the case anymore. Typical wheel hub assembly now calls for ABS sensors which are designed to keep track of your vehicles speed. It is also important to note that most, if not all, wheel bearing sets are now sealed. This means that each time they start making noise, you have to replace the whole hub. That is because noise coming off the hub is always the first sure sign of bearing failure.
As it is often the case with most models, Porsche will always give you a telltale sound. The challenge with Porsche wheel bearing failure though is the fact that it starts out very quiet. It will only get louder when the problem worsens. So when you hear the noise, the damage is usually already done. The noise is best described as a droning or whirring which will sound as though it comes from a distance each time you drive at a low speed. The noise will get worse as you accelerate. As speed picks up, you will detect vibration.
Why The Noise
Porsche wheel bearings are made of steel, strong enough to withstand regular wear and tear. There are however, two main characters that the bearings cannot put up with - heat and water. Lubrication, as you will find out, is vital in keeping heat levels under control. So if it is neglected, it will always lead to bearing damage. Then there is the water problem. Every time water penetrates inside a bearing, friction is guaranteed. That is because it interferes with lubrication, a problem which brings about heat. Eventually, the seals get broken and damaged. This leads to noise, a sure sign that the bearings are about to fail.
How Replacement Is Done
Porsche wheel bearings come in kits. The kits provide a full set of bearings which makes it easy for a mechanic to replace worn out bearings. Be keen while buying your kit though. Make sure that it is the best fit for your Porsche. Make sure too that only a qualified mechanic replaces the bearings. Unlike changing the engine oil, wheel bearing replacement is never a Do It Yourself undertaking. Then always take your vehicle for inspection after every 30,000 miles.