Ball Bearings Used in Vehicles

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Vehicles run on the surfaces they are driven on by means of inertia. This allows vehicles to move at various speeds in order to get to a particular destination. This motion can be controlled by steering, accelerating and braking. However, these methods of control are sometimes not enough to manage the vehicle, especially when the surface it is driving on is either slippery, or extremely rough. To help solve this problem, automobile designers use ball bearings.

Purpose

  • Ball bearings are rolling elements that are used to decrease the rotational friction between the vehicle and the surface it runs on, such as cemented roads. They also support axial and radial loads to maintain balance in the event of speed changes or when sudden braking while in the midst of operation.

Location

  • In automobiles, ball bearings are inserted inside the wheels of the vehicle, in a special slot called the "cage." The bearings then run around the cage while the vehicle is running, and they function to evenly distribute the load of the vehicle during operation. You may notice a reduced yet more exhausting driving experience when your car load has exceeded its weight capacity; this is because the bearings can no longer handle the weight of the vehicle.

Benefits

  • Ball bearings play an integral role in most vehicles. They help improve car performance and allow for smooth driving, as the brakes are under less pressure to control the automobile's speed while running. Bearings also allow the vehicle to adjust whenever it runs through varying terrains, such as rough roads and smooth asphalt streets. Most of all, bearings help absorb the shock felt by passengers during sudden brakes, or when the vehicle collides with another vehicle or structure, similar to the bearings used on buildings in earthquake-prone countries such as Japan.

Maintenance

  • Just like the many other parts of a vehicle, ball bearings are prone to wear and tear. The best way to fix them is by having them replaced altogether. The ideal time to replace ball bearings is when you have your brakes replaced. Doing so will allow you to enjoy optimum driving performance, because both the brakes and the bearings will be brand new. Keeping clean brakes also proves important in efforts to maintain better control of your vehicle; the bearings alone will only help improve the vehicle's shock absorption activity, not control its speed or steering.

Risks

  • While ball bearings are helpful in providing better automobile performance, they can also cause misalignment in the wheel, which in turn can lead to driving accidents. Drivers can prevent this potential problem by taking their car into a repair shop regularly so that the issue can be fixed as soon as it is diagnosed.

References

  • Photo Credit "revere range rover sport and rolls royce phantom in london parked" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: London Flash Cars under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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