Sutherlin, R., "Wheel Bearing Brinelling and a Vehicle Curb Impact DOE to Understand Factors Affecting Bearing Loads," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. 10(3):811-816, 2017.
As material cleanliness and bearing lubrication have improved, wheel bearings are experiencing less raceway spalling failures from rotating fatigue. Warranty part reviews have shown that two of the larger failure modes for wheel bearings are contaminant ingress and Brinell damage from curb and pothole impacts. Warranty has also shown that larger wheels have higher rates of Brinell warranty. This paper discusses the Brinell failure mode for bearings. It reviews a vehicle test used to evaluate Brinell performance for wheel bearings. The paper also discusses a design of experiments to study the effects of factors such as wheel size, vehicle loading and vehicle position versus the bearing load from a vehicle side impact to the wheel. As the trend in vehicle styling is moving to larger wheels and low profile tires, understanding the impact load can help properly size wheel bearings.