Importance of Ball Bearings in Automotive Parts

Blog | August 20th, 2015

Cars and trucks are the most common moving machine on the globe. They’re found everywhere, which makes them the ideal candidates to use as a case study for ball bearings. On top of the notion that automobiles are ubiquitous, they’re arguably the first mass of working parts you think of when envisaging something that depends on ball bearings. The car is static, but it’s also moving forward at great speed. The wheels are turning at thousands of cycles per minute, an exhausting chore that results in linear movement for the car and its passengers. Obviously radial movement and linear motion are working together without creating frictional and a cloud of smoke, which means that ball bearings are hard at work here. Vehicle axles represent a prime example of ball bearings at work, but they’re by no means the only place you can find these invaluable radial friction cancellers.

Ball Bearings are Integral to the Automotive Industry

The road is long and the rolling spherical elements within the wheel bearings are handling rotational friction so that you can focus on driving. Meanwhile, the manual or power steering that controls the passage of this metaphorical guided missile depends on another set of ball bearings. Steering is a part of the automotive industry that can’t be ignored. The steering column delivers smooth turns so that you can forget about the mechanism at work and simply enjoy the driving experience. This level of mechanical assuredness is a direct result of the installation of friction-reducing rotating parts, with the ball bearing playing a key role in this assemblage of vehicle guiding parts. Frictionless bushes and a number of ball bearings combine here to keep the steering column safely turning.

Steering stability and wheel motion segregation are the two apparent and accessible rotating assemblies within the automotive industry, but there are others. Automotive transmission bearings use a system of lubricated gears, parts that mesh together to quickly alter the gearing ratio of the vehicle. These systems are derived from strictly manual assemblies and hybrid systems that automate gear changing profiles, but the ball bearing still rules in these multi-toothed environments.

The Supplemental Side of Driving

In closing our discourse, vehicles depend on these primary systems, but there are other places within cars and trucks where ball bearings live. Every rotating arm or alternator assembly in the engine compartment rotates through the power of the humble ball bearing. The rolling doors on trucks and vans use ball bearings to enable door panels to trundle smoothly open. Wiper mechanisms clean windscreens thanks, in large part, to small motors and free-floating shafts that are equipped with bearings. Think of axles, steering and transmission systems first when considering the role of ball bearings in the automotive industry, but include these other systems for a full picture of this workhorse component.

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