This is not a wheel bearing issue.
Tire balancers are the machines in the shop used to balance tires. They have a shaft sticking that the wheels are mounted to, then the machine spins the assembly while sensors measure any imbalance. That spinning shaft rides on bearings that can cause rumbling, just like noisy wheel bearings on a car. The machine's sensors can detect that rumbling and confuse it with an imbalance. It will display that as a need to add a wheel weight. Most mechanics don't realize their balancer has bad bearings until they start getting a lot of customers coming back with unsatisfactory results after having their tires balanced. An additional clue the machine needs to be fixed is it will show a need to add a weight, the mechanic does that, spins the assembly again to check the results, and finds it needs a second weight in a different spot, and that might happen a third time.
Most tire balancers need to be calibrated periodically too and most have provisions for doing that in less than a minute or two. We often don't do that until we realize we're having multiple customer complaints.
Bad wheel bearings will cause a buzzing noise similar to an airplane engine. If you wiggle a tire and feel a slight knocking, have the steering and suspension systems inspected at a tire and alignment shop. That looseness can develop in a wheel bearing, but if you don't have that buzzing noise too, it's much more likely the looseness is due to a worn ball joint, tie rod end, or strut.
A visual inspection of brake rotors is similar to saying a person's teeth are okay because you see them smile. There's WAY more to it than that. The only thing a visual inspection will show is if large sections are broken away due to rust, but that almost always occurs on the backside where it's hard to see. Many rotors have bent strips of metal stuffed into one of the cooling slots to balance it. If a weight fell out, you may feel that out-of-balance if it's bad enough.
Rotors are always machined during a brake job to make the two sides perfectly parallel to each other and to make the surfaces perfectly flat to match the new pads. If new pads are just slapped on with no regard to resurfacing the rotors, the pads will not make full contact until they wear down over thousands of miles. What little part does make contact does all the work so it builds up heat really fast. That can cause a rotor to warp. You'll never see that by eye. "Thickness variation" is measured with a micrometer in multiple spots around the rotor. If there is excessive thickness variation, you'll feel that as a brake pedal pulsing up and down when you apply the brakes.
"Lateral run out" is measured with a dial indicator. That means the braking surface of the rotor isn't parallel to its center mounting area so it wobbles as it goes around. A little lateral run out can be tolerated, but if it's excessive, you'll feel that as an oscillation in the steering wheel when braking, and sometimes even when not braking. You may or may not feel that in the brake pedal.
The linings on the brake pads are not as wide as the friction surface on the rotors. Rust builds up on the inner and outer areas where the pads don't make contact. Those linings are never in exactly the same position as on the old pads being removed. That means the edge of the new linings will be riding on a ridge of rust. You might feel that in the brake pedal, but it's more likely you'll hear that as a rough grinding sound, worse when braking.
Thickness variation, lateral run out, and rust ridges are all handled by machining the rotors during a normal brake job, but there is a legal minimum thickness published by all car manufacturers that those rotors can be machined to. There is a second, slightly thinner specification a rotor can be allowed to wear to and still be left on the car. If a mechanic machines your rotors too thin to try to save you money, he can easily end up in court if that is found during a crash investigation, even if the crash was caused by the other person. New rotors today are real inexpensive so no conscientious mechanic is going to risk his reputation or his job by machining a rotor that needs to be replaced. Most rotors cost less than the cost of labor to machine old ones and the cost of cutting bits and maintaining the brake lathe. It's usually less expensive to just sell you a pair of new rotors.
New rotors already have the proper "surface finish" to aid in the new pads seating and matching perfectly. That insures even side-to-side braking to avoid pulling to one side. Old rotors that are machined or worn to different thicknesses will build up heat at different rates, especially during prolonged city driving which is where brakes work the hardest. The "coefficient of friction" changes as temperature rises, and if those temperatures rise faster on one side than the other side, a brake pull can develop suddenly and unexpectedly. A lot of pickup trucks have been having that problem since the mid '90s, and only experienced brake system specialists know what's causing it and how to solve it. All of these problems are caused by brake rotors that look just fine, so a visual inspection has little value.
Tuesday, October 27th, 2015 AT 9:51 AM