Understanding the different types of bearing damage: your essential guide


Bearing failure is rare, however due to the high number of bearings in operation across industry, there is still a significant number of failures taking place. The reasons for main bearing failure range from the application and quality of the bearing to using the wrong lubricant.

Many types of bearing failure can be prevented with the knowledge on how external influences will affect the service life.So, what steps can be taken to ensure your bearings stay in good working order?

We have written a guide on bearing failure, that contains clear sections dedicated to helping you understand the very basics of how and why bearing failures happen, how to eliminate and reduce those risks, and diagnose the problems correctly. Whether you’re looking to invest in condition monitoring technologies for bearing inspection or would like to seek out information on conventional methods for spotting the early signs of bearing damage or failure, our guide has you covered.

What to look out for: reasons for main bearing failures

There are several reasons why bearings can be damaged or fail. This includes lubrication conditions, choice of bearing material, operating conditions, improper bearing selection for applications, and assembly installation techniques.

External influences like the ones listed above, will affect the quality and life of your bearing, and for that reason, we have created our guide to help you understand bearing failures and solve them.

Choosing the correct material for the bearing operation is a key factor to ensure long-lasting life. For example, opting for ceramic bearings is ideal for hot temperature environments of up to 1600 degrees depending on the bearing material.

We share useful tips on how to inspect your bearing’s condition, and whether you should invest in monitoring technologies that can detect damage or failure that isn’t easily observable to the human eye. However, if you are not looking to invest in monitoring equipment, our guide has plenty of information on traditional methods that can help you prevent failure.

We focus on the warning signs that are indicative of poor bearing condition, such as squeaking and grinding noises. Indicators like excessive vibration, will increase bearing noise, the rate of fatigue, and shorten the bearing’s service life. High temperature is also a key variable that indicates deeper problems, so be sure to monitor any changes.

What’s more, our guide explains how noisy bearings can be caused by lubrication, contamination, and mounting issues. Any sign of lubrication damage and leaks will impact the quality of your bearings, resulting in contamination.

If your lubricant is contaminated, then you will need to relubricate or replace the bearing. Lack of lubrication is another key factor, so be sure to use enough grease. We explain everything you need to look out for in detail inside our guide.

Answers to your questions 

In this guide, we also answer some of the most frequently asked questions related to bearing failure and damage:

  • What makes a quiet bearing?

  • Will relubrication make rough bearings smooth again?

  • What are corrosion-resistant bearings?

  • Can you relubricate bearings with shields and seals?

Need to know about the most common types of bearing damage, or why bearings fail? Download your free guide here. Alternatively, contact SMB Bearings on +44 (0) 1993 842 555 or sales@smbbearings.com

Our determination to remain specialised gives us a high level of product knowledge, providing bearing and lubrication solutions to existing or potential customers, whether individuals or large corporations. We don’t just sell bearings, we help to solve your problems. - Chris Johnson, managing director of SMB Bearings.