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What is a wheel hub?

What is a wheel hub?

The wheel hub is part of the car's steering system as it is the central part that holds the wheel on its axis of rotation. Together with the propeller shaft, it holds the wheel in place and allows it to rotate freely. If it's not in good condition, the safety of the driver and passengers is at risk, as the wheel can easily come off. The role of the wheel hub is to secure the wheel without interfering with its rotation. It must be strong enough to withstand the vehicle's loads without breaking. Each car has four hubs, one for each wheel. This part also serves to secure the brake drum, brake disk and rim. The hub rotates smoothly with the help of a bearing. What do I need to know about the hub? Let's take a closer look at the wheel hub.

What is a wheel hub: role and function?

Located in the center of the wheel, the hub holds the wheel in place. The brake disc, the car's brake drum and the rim are all anchored to this mechanical part, whose role is to hold the wheel firmly in place without impeding its ability to rotate. Since the wheel hub holds the wheel firmly to the chassis, a simple malfunction of this part can endanger the driver. To ensure rider safety, the wheel hub is always attached to the universal joint through the stub axle. The hub keeps the wheel stable and straight during rotation. Because of its position close to the road and its roughness, the wheel hub is subject to considerable stress.

In addition to holding the wheel, the hub also holds the brake disk, brake drum, and rim. A hub can rotate easily thanks to a wheel bearing system. All of this works according to a very precise mechanism.

So precise, in fact, that wheel bearing removal tools are not always enough to remove the gear from the wheel!

What are the different types of wheel hubs?

Most vehicles on the road have fixed hubs on their drive wheels. These allow the engine to drive the wheels by transmitting traction. On some off-road vehicles, a device can be used to switch from 4WD to 2WD or vice versa, disconnecting certain wheels from the differential. To do this, they are equipped with a so-called disengageable hub, which allows the drive shaft to be disconnected from the hub and thus from the wheel, thus limiting the mass to be driven and the wear on the components.

How to check a hub

Bicycles, cars, motorcycles, etc. all have hubs. Therefore, the inspection varies depending on the type of vehicle to be repaired.

Bicycle or ATV hubs

To inspect a bicycle or ATV hub, rotate the wheel in a vacuum. Correct rotation indicates that the wheel is in good condition. Note that a wheel that is too tight will cause braking and damage to the bearing balls. If the hub is tight, it's best to loosen the cones slightly.

Trailer hubs

Checking trailer hubs is sometimes overlooked. However, it's important to make sure the mechanical side is clean. To perform a check:

  • Mount your trailer;
  • Place a stand under the axle and lock it in place;
  • Remove the wheel bolts;
  • Remove the pin from the axle end bolt;
  • Loosen the nut securing the axle and hub;
  • Remove bearings for inspection;
  • Lubricate hub and bearings before reassembly.

Car Hub

A flatness check is required before replacing the hub. Use a hub comparator to check your vehicle's hubs. Contact your local repair shop for a quick check and installation of a new hub.

When should a wheel hub be replaced?

The hub is an essential part of the wheel. Its condition is critical and can affect the safety of vehicle occupants. Therefore, you need to keep a close eye on whether your car's hubs are in good condition or not. There are a number of signals that can warn you about your wheel hubs:

  • You can't brake properly. You need to press harder on the pedal, your brakes don't apply consistently.
  • Your car's steering is inefficient and sluggish.
  • You hear squealing or strange noises coming from your hubs.

When in doubt, don't hesitate to have your vehicle and the defective hub inspected by a professional. The risks associated with a hub that's not working properly are immense, especially when it comes to your braking system. A mechanic will be able to tell you if any of your vehicle's parts need to be replaced.

On average, a hub will remain in good condition for almost 400,000 km on older cars and 100,000 km on newer cars. This gives you an idea of whether you've exceeded your mileage limit. Road worthiness tests are also used for this type of check to see if the vehicle's parts are in good condition or damaged.

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