Your UTV’s carrier bearing is really good at keeping secrets. It rides in a thick rubber isolator to reduce vibration and tends to get drowned out by your loud motor. But when it goes bad, there are telltale signs of it.
So today, we’re talking about carrier bearing noise and other symptoms of a bad carrier bearing to look out for.
The first sign of a bad carrier bearing is the howling noise it makes. It sounds similar to loud tire noise. It should be apparent to anybody riding in the cab because the drive shaft and carrier bearing run just under the thin floorboards.
You may hear the howling only at certain speeds too. It might be silent if you’re crawling through a technical spot and start complaining when you give it full throttle.
When the damage gets worse, you might start hearing a clunk noise rather than howling.
But what actually causes carrier bearing noise?
While there’s typically no scheduled maintenance for your side-by-side’s carrier bearing, the grease can wear down over time. You can still grease them with a needle tip to help keep them running smooth.
If they run dry too long, the ball bearings themselves can wear out. This is where the majority of the noise comes from. If the bearings aren’t running smooth, they’ll increase friction, heat, and noise.
If your bearing is in an exceptionally bad condition or you have a U-joint that’s going bad, the carrier that holds your bearing can start to wear out. This type of breakdown results in a clunkier sound.
Noise is almost always the first symptom of a bad carrier bearing, but it’s not necessarily the easiest to notice. Along with noise comes vibration, and if you know what you’re looking for, you won’t miss it.
Any time you start a ride, you should start off slow for a minute so you can make sure your machine feels right. You can feel a bad carrier bearing right away if you touch center console or put your hand on the shifter.
You’re more likely to notice vibration in those places than on the gas pedal, but different makes and models carry vibration around the machine in different ways. Pay attention to the way your machine feels when it’s working right, and you’ll be able to tell if something’s off right away.
Once you know there’s something wrong with your carrier bearing, there are a few easy steps you can follow to confirm the issue and figure out if it’s your bearing or U-joint that’s going bad.
Once you know the issue, all you need to do is get a replacement carrier bearing or U-joint. Replacing your U-joint is simple, but finding a good replacement carrier bearing gets a little more complicated, so let’s look at your options.
If your carrier bearing is shot, it’s time to get a replacement. Luckily, there are tons of aftermarket options that are both affordable and practical.
We make a heavy-duty carrier bearing that uses a two-piece design. The design makes it easier to install in your machine and the built-in grease fitting makes it super easy to grease. You can even attach a remote grease line so you can grease it right from your cab.
All that’s left for you to fix your carrier bearing noise is to check out our Heavy-Duty Carrier Bearings and our helpful installation videos.
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