The center support bearing is normally on mid-size or heavy-duty vehicles, such as trucks. The purpose of this part is to help support the longer drive shaft that these vehicles depend on. The drive shaft is divided into two sections, and sits between the rear differential and the transmission. While driving, the bearing allows the drive shaft some flexibility; however, if there is too much flex due to a worn bearing, the vehicle may start to have problems.
The center support bearing provides a connection point among the transmission and rear differential. The drive shaft is located within the center support bearing. This allows the drive shaft some flexibility so there is not so much stress on the driveline parts. Combined with the dust shield, housing, bearing, and rubber cushions, these parts all play an important role in absorbing the vibrations and shocks while you are driving down the road.
Over time, the center support bearing can become worn due to it being used constantly. When this happens, the vehicle starts to shake when you accelerate from a complete stop. The shaking will cause strain on the drivetrain components and your vehicle will not be as responsive when turning as it once was before. As soon as you notice this problem, contact a professional mechanic to have your center support bearing replaced. Ignoring this problem can damage the differential, transmission, and the driveshaft in your vehicle. This can make for extensive repairs and your vehicle may be inoperable until it is fixed.
Since the center support bearing can wear out over the years, it is important to be aware of the symptoms that indicate it is about to fail.
Signs that indicate your center support bearing needs to be replaced include:
Noises such as squealing and grinding, especially when the vehicle is slowing down
Lack of performance when steering or an overall resistance when driving
A shuddering feeling from your vehicle while you are accelerating after a stop
The center support bearing is crucial to the performance of your vehicle, so any of these symptoms should not be ignored and the vehicle should be looked at right away.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Center Support Bearing Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.