How Long Can I Drive with Pinion Bearing Noise

The word “pinion bearing” is probably an unfamiliar word to you if you just got yourself a driver’s license and you’ve never been behind the wheel before.

However, when the pinion bearing goes bad, it can start making a disturbing noise which prompts the question of whether one can still drive with the noise and how long can you drive with the pinion bearing noise?

As a benchmark set for your safety, you shouldn’t drive beyond 1,000 miles when your car’s pinion bearing starts to make noise. You should proceed directly to your mechanic and have it checked and fixed.

What Is A Pinion Bearing?

A pinion bearing is a small, round gear that is usually found in the drivetrain, the rack, or the pinion system of a vehicle.

It can generally or in a layman’s understanding be called “a type of bearing that gives utmost support to the weight of a car’s drivetrain”.

Due to the function of a pinion bearing, it is expected that you have it changed periodically because it bears the burden of a lot of stress.

How Long Can I Drive With Pinion Bearing Noise?

At first, when your car begins to produce unusual sounds, you need to pay attention to it as it indicates there is a problem somewhere.

After you notice that the sounds you hear are from your car’s pinion-bearing, you shouldn’t drive beyond 1,000 miles.

Though the effect of the problem may not be as severe as causing you immediate damages, some can take months, some weeks, and others might get you worried after a few hours.

You possibly can’t tell how damaged it is. More reason, when you discover a strange sound, you should see your mechanic.

What to Do When You Notice a Pinion Bearing Sound

There are only a few things you can do; here are a few of them;

Be Sure Of What Sound You Are Hearing

There are a lot of sounds your car can produce. Being able to differentiate these sounds is important to making quality decisions on what next to do.

Once you have confirmed that you have a pinion-bearing sound, the next thing is to be sure of how damaged your pinion-bearing sound is.

Be Sure If You Need A Repair Or A Replacement

As stated earlier, you can drive as much as you want to even with a pinion-bearing sound. Its effects are dependent on how severe the damage is.

It is not wise to drive a long distance without reaching out to your mechanic. It is best you reach out to know if a repair is possible or if a replacement is needed.

What Kind of Sound Does a Damaged Pinion Bearing Make?

A bad pinion-bearing makes a whirring sound whenever you accelerate or whenever you use the brake. You may also notice rattling sounds or gear grinding sounds as you accelerate. If you notice these things, you should contact your mechanic for more clarification.

Aside from these sounds, you could also admit you have a bearing problem when you experience vibrations when you accelerate your car and tire damage.

Possibly your tire shows a few inner threads or you heard some “cracking” sound when you tried making a turn. These are common pointers to a bad pinion bearing.

What Causes Pinion Bearing to Produce Noise?

Though the pinion bearing is a part that needs to be changed periodically, it is not as vulnerable to damage as we might have thought.

There are a lot of factors that can be linked to why a pinion bearing might produce noise, these factors will help you detect a pinion bearing problem and possibly prevent the noises from happening. A few of these causes are.

1. Inadequate Lubrication

In most cases, if not all cases of pinion bearing producing noise is related to a lack of lubrication.

It could be that the wrong lubrication is used or not enough lubrication is used, it can also be a degradation of the lubricant used as a result of being exposed to an excessive temperature or it could also be a problem of No lubrication at all.

Whichever one it is, the major factor to consider is that lubrication has a role to play in the activeness and efficiency of your pinion bearing.

2. Contamination

Everyone is affected by contamination. Even a pinion bearing is also affected by dirt, dust, abrasive grits, and many others. When these things are accumulated, it will result in pinion-bearing failure.

3. Misalignment Could Also Be A Problem

Misalignment of one part of an engine will directly or indirectly affect another. When mounting your pinion bearing, it should be done the right way.

Aside from that, misalignment can also be an out-of-space shaft shoulder or anything installed the wrong way. Such errors can cause various problems like noises, and overheating and as well lead to failure of the pinion bearing or any other parts of the engine.

4. Overheating

When the temperature is high, it will cause overheating and this process will result in a consistent loss of lubrication. Amongst the things your pinion bearing can adapt to, a loss of lubrication is not one of them.

How to Prevent Pinion Bearing Damage

Knowledge about the causes of a pinion bearing producing noises is now clear to you. It is also important to know how to prevent them from happening. There are different ways you can get this done, a few include.

  • Keep The Bearings Lubricated: When there isn’t lubrication, wear and tear sets in. One of the most promising ways to keep your pinion bearing long enough to serve its purpose is to ensure it is lubricated regularly. Also note that lubrication should be done the right way, using the right lubricant is important to avoid attracting other disadvantages.
  • Stop Aggressive Driving: In as much as the car is built to give you the utmost satisfaction, it also doesn’t permit an excessive approach to its usage. Ensure you avoid driving aggressively and mostly in conditions that damage your bearing which includes, driving aggressively on a road with lots of potholes, off-road driving, and others.
  • Check Your Drivetrain Regularly: This is also important to keeping your pinion bearing safe. Ensure you set aside a maintenance check to inspect this aspect of your car regularly, in other to detect problems early enough before they grow to be worse.


Driving your car with a pinion-bearing sound isn’t a wise decision if you ask me but if you’re caught up, you should have it repaired or replaced as soon as you can to avoid further damage to other parts of your car.

You could possibly drive 1,000 miles safely. But, you can’t possibly tell how long you can drive without consulting your mechanic. The best move is to see your mechanic.