Center Bearing Buyer's Guide
- A center support bearing is a small, round component attached to the driveshaft. It is mounted on a rubber cushion that attaches to a frame crossmember.
- This type of bearing is typically found on mid-size or heavy-duty vehicles. Its primary function is to support your car’s driveshaft.
- The center bearing is located underneath your car and fitted around the driveshaft. This component supports the frequent rotations of your vehicle’s driveshaft and keeps it on its axis.
- The center bearing is important because it helps stabilize your vehicle.
- Not only is it a significant component of your car’s drivetrain, but it also keeps both parts of the driveshaft solid to reduce vibrations as the vehicle accelerates.
- There are different types of bearings used in cars today, like the thrust ball bearing, roller bearing, tapered roller bearing, linear bearing, and mounted bearing.
- Common symptoms of a failed center bearing include resistance during driving, unusual noises, and shuddering during acceleration.
Regardless of size, every car part is essential to how your vehicle functions. This is especially true with smaller, often overlooked parts such as the center bearing. This simple, round object is an important component to your car’s stability. If the center bearing fails, it could negatively impact the drivability of your vehicle.
Read on to learn more about the center bearing, its function, types, and the signs that it needs replacement.
What is a center support bearing?
A center support bearing is a small, round component attached to the driveshaft. It supports the frequent rotations of your vehicle’s driveshaft and keeps it on its axis.This type of bearing is typically found on mid-size or heavy-duty vehicles.
Where is the center bearing located?
The center bearing is located underneath your car and fitted around the driveshaft. It is mounted on a rubber cushion that attaches to a frame crossmember.
What does a center bearing do?
In cars with driveshafts split into two sections, a center bearing is used. It sits between the rear differential and the transmission. The bearing serves as a junction on the driveshaft between the differential and the transmission, which enables the driveshaft to flex. This diminishes stress on the other driveline parts.This part helps support the longer driveshaft of mid-size to four-wheel-drive vehicles.
Why is a center bearing important?
The center bearing is important because it helps stabilize your vehicle. Not only is it a significant component of your car’s drivetrain, but it also keeps both parts of the driveshaft solid to reduce vibrations as the vehicle accelerates. A center bearing helps isolate structure-borne noise and vibration by damping your vehicle’s resonance frequency and shaft tumbling.
What are the different types of bearings?
There are several types of bearings being sold in the market today. Cars use mechanical bearings, which allow rotation or linear movements within its components. These bearings enhance the vehicle’s performance, bear heavy loads, and reduce friction. Most of them are designed specifically for the type of load or the speed of the shaft.
Below are the most common types of bearings used in vehicles and some everyday equipment.
Thrust Ball Bearing
A thrust ball bearing is composed of bearing balls within a ring. This type of bearing is designed for minimal, slow-moving, and light radial loads. It usually only accommodates axial loads. This type is also known as ball bearings.
Roller bearings are built for conveyor belt rollers and other heavy radial loads. They come with small cylinders instead of balls.
Tapered Roller Bearing
Tapered roller bearings are used in vehicle wheel bearings that need to cope with large radial and axial forces. They are typically employed applications that require durability.
Linear bearings are used along shafts for linear movement. This type of bearing might also have rotational capabilities.
Mounted bearings are assemblies in which the bearings are pre-assembled in mountings that, in turn, are bolted to frames and stanchions. These bearings are typically used for supporting the ends of shafts and conveyor rollers.
Why does a center bearing fail?
A center bearing usually fails due to frequent usage. It can accumulate wear and eventually break down. Premature failure of this typically sturdy component may be a result of damaged rubber casings, road salt and moisture, too much driveshaft movement, high mileage, and a damaged or missing water shield.
What are the symptoms of a failing center bearing?
One of the most common symptoms of a bad center bearing is when your vehicle starts producing unusual noises. What does a bad center support bearing sound like?
A faulty or worn center bearing will produce howling or squealing noises when your car accelerates from a stop. You may also hear clunking noises when you brake or change gears. the vehicle changes gears or during braking.
If the bearing is failing, the attached driveshafts may come loose when the car speeds up or slows down. As your vehicle accelerates, these unusual noises may quiet down.
Another symptom of a failing center bearing is shuddering during acceleration. A worn center bearing won’t be able to support the driveshaft, which might lead to the driveshaft flexing incorrectly. This incorrect flex causes vibration and shuddering.
In more serious cases of a faulty center bearing, the driveshaft may flex and shudder to the point of making contact with the vehicle’s undersides. When this happens, it can damage both the driveshaft and the chassis.
A more general symptom would be a lack of performance when steering or feeling resistance while you’re driving.
The center bearing is essential to the overall performance and drivability of your vehicle. Once your car begins experiencing any of these symptoms, consider having your center bearing replaced immediately.
How much is a center bearing?
If your center bearing wears out and requires immediate replacement, don’t worry as there are many available options for you to choose from. A center bearing replacement costs anywhere between $20 and $250. The price depends on the type of your vehicle and its year, make, and model.
Finding the right fit
When buying a center bearing replacement, make sure it fits the specification of your vehicle. To ensure that you are getting the right center bearing, enter the correct year, make, and model into our search engine. You may also filter your search according to the location of your center bearing, preferred brand, or price range. Simply click search and browse through our wide selection of heavy-duty center bearings.
Hit the Center Bearing that's Perfect for Your Car
Indeed, a bearing is just a simple, round object that's attached to most of the modern equipment we enjoy today. What's mostly forgotten about it is the stability it provides to almost everything. This portion will focus on your car's center bearing?its function, types, and important details you should know if already you need to replace that part.
Where exactly is the center bearing located and how does it work?
The center bearing is located underneath your car, and fitted around the drive shaft. If you still can't determine where the drive shaft is, it's that long, rotating tube right in the middle. Since the drive shaft rotates frequently, the center bearing supports it and keeps it in its axis. Just imagine what would happen if the drive shaft spins out of control, it's dangerous, right? That's how important the center bearing is, especially to long vehicles.
What are the types of bearings?
There are so many types of bearings in available today. Most of them are designed specifically to the type of load, or the speed of the shaft. The items below are the types of bearings that you'll find in your car, and in some daily equipment.
- Ball Thrust Bearing
- The ball thrust bearing is designed for minimum for slow-moving and light radial loads.
- Roller Bearing
- This type of bearing is used for heavy radial loads like conveyor belt rollers. The roller bearing is designed with little cylinders inside instead of balls.
- Roller Thrust Bearing
- Applicable for heavy thrust loads, roller thrust bearing supports gear sets in a car's transmission system, and rotating shafts.
- Tapered Roller Bearing
- The tapered roller bearing has the ability to support large loads mostly for car hubs to handle load in different directions.
How would I know if a center bearing is the right one for my car?
Before you step out and search for a new center bearing, determine the shape of the bearing's bracket first. This part mostly varies by design, but you can easily ask by telling the model and the year of your car.
Are center bearings costly to replace?
If your budget is around $30-$50, then you can already find a good one. Although center bearings can go below $20, the premium quality peaks at $290. Since the prices obviously vary, always look for the trusted names in the market, so you can re-assure the product's quality.
Replace Your Center Bearing Correctly
The center bearing works to support the drive shaft as it spins underneath your car. It will be extremely difficult if you drive without a center bearing because the drive shaft might spin off and out of control. You can determine a bearing in poor condition if the rubber in it is worn out, or the bearing itself is already chipped or cracked.
This step-by-step guide will help you how to remove the center bearing properly and some techniques to ensure that a replacement is correctly installed. Please be aware that this procedure begins after you have already removed the drive shaft from your vehicle.
Difficulty Level: High
Tools you'll need:
- Standard vice
- Bearing pliers
- Hollow driver
- New center bearing
Safety Advice: You must first put-on an eye wear before you start.
Step 1: With the bearing still attached, Secure the drive shaft to the vice.
Step 2: Remove the bracket and the rubber cushion of the bearing. You can slowly pull-out the rubber cushion using your hands, or you use any elongated tool like a screwdriver to pop itout.
Step 3: Use the bearing pliers and remove the center bearing. Set the fingers of the bearing pliers on the center bearing and tighten the screw to secure. If a bearing pliers is unavailable, aim the hollow driver on the bearing and strike the driver with the hammer. The center bearing should slide down. Make sure you do this carefully and do not hit the drive shaft.
Step 4: Take your new center bearing and apply grease in the middle.
Step 5: Secure the drive shaft back onto the vice and secure it.
Step 6: Fit the new center bearing around the drive shaft and secure it by aiming the hollow driver once again and driving the hammer onto the driver.
The entire process takes 30 minutes to complete or even faster for those car DIYers.