My preferred method of checking wheel bearings is to run the car in gear on a hoist and listen next to each one with a stethoscope. You won't hear the noise that way without one because there's no weight on the bearings.
After being a suspension and alignment specialist for over 25 years, I learned another way just a couple of years ago. That is to raise the tire off the ground, reach over the top of it and wrap your fingertips around the coil spring, then spin the tire by hand. If the bearing is noisy, you'll feel the roughness in the spring.
The most involved way is to borrow a "Chassis Ear" from an auto parts store that rents or borrows tools. It is a set of six microphones, a switch box, and headphones. You clip the microphones to suspect points, then drive around while listening with the headphones. You can move the microphones around to zero in on the source of the noise. Be aware that many mechanics have never seen or even heard of this tool. Suspension and alignment mechanics use it to find rattles, squeaks, and other noises.
Monday, October 7th, 2013 AT 12:26 AM