How to Buy a Proper Axle Bearing 101
An axle bearing in automotive contexts refers to bearings that make use of an axle as their inner race. In other words, the bearing rollers directly ride on the axle shaft itself. These devices allow an axle to spin without seizure, wear, and resistance with its use of roller-type bearings. Compared to ball bearings, axle bearings provide a wider surface for contact. However, it might need replacement in case you start hearing a grinding noise from where it's located.
What to Buy Specifically
- Check the Specs: Check the specs and the user reviews (to confirm the validity of the specs) in order to get the right axle bearing for your needs. To be more specific, you need a bearing that's easy to maintain, increases the reliability and enhances the performance of your front-wheel-drive, and transmits power without slipping. Have your product number handy to make it easier to search for an OEM replacement for your busted axle bearing as well.
- Key Design Attributes: In order to make sure you're buying the absolute best axle bearing, you should be aware of its key design attributes. On top of ensuring equipment fitment or compatibility to narrow down your search, you should look for direct-on-shaft design that simplifies axle bearing mounting and a compact bearing design to ensure high-load capacity overall. In other words, search for a bearing that provides a tight and perfect fit to your wheels.
- Semi-Float Axles: When shopping for axle bearings, you can break them down to either full-float or semi-float variants. Check the axle you're replacing and go with the variant that showcases perfect fitment with your car. The semi-float axle is one variant of the axle bearing that has support on a single bearing attached to the axle housing's end. With this setup, it's capable of carrying the full weight of your vehicle on its axle shaft.
- Full-Float Axles: Full float axles have bearings and a wheel hub supported by a fixed spindle. This design variant floats inside the assembly that supports the weight of the automobile and its load. This leaves the axle to concentrate on its main purpose, which is to transfer as much torque as possible to the wheel from the differential. This bearing is typically used in ¾ to 1-ton light trucks, medium, and heavy trucks as well as tractors and self-propelled agricultural machinery.
- Axle Steel Grades: Axles are typically made of chromium-molybdenum (chrome-moly) steel and carbon steel. Chrome-moly steel has an SAE Grade of 41xx and is considerably more expensive to product than carbon steel because it's also significantly stronger and longer lasting. Meanwhile, carbon steel has an SAE Grade of 10xx is less expensive but still quite strong (significantly stronger than stainless steel, at least). It's easier to weld at home as well.
Also Take Note
The main purpose of your axle bearing is to transmit torque from the differential to make it accessible to your tires. The differential, meanwhile, controls traction bias and provides gear reduction, which enables one axle to slow down and another axel to speed up by every turn. A top axle purchase should be able to accomplish this important task. Damaged wheel bearings can wear down the groove of your axle shaft and reduce the torque efficiency of your car.