Odd sounds from your vehicle may not be anything important, but you should always check them out. If you notice something sounds different, it could indicate that you have a maintenance issue that requires your attention.
One source of weird noise is a bad wheel bearing. Meineke explains that a bad wheel bearing will generally make a humming sound at higher speeds and cause vibrations at lower speeds.
While the sounds may not be incredibly concerning, you should pay attention. A bad wheel bearing is a serious mechanical issue that requires a quick repair. Once it starts making noise and causing vibration, you need to get it fixed.
A bad bearing can stop your wheel from moving, and this can happen while you are driving. The wheel bearing keeps your wheel attached to the car, so if it fails to function completely, then your tire could fall off.
Beyond leaving you without a tire on your vehicle, a bad wheel bearing can compound issues and lead to extreme wear of other parts of your suspension, including the CV joints and hub. It also wears the transmission and your tires, causing uneven or faster wear.
You also will notice that your steering is not as responsive, which makes it tough to react in situations where you need to move quickly.
The good news is that wheel bearings go out all the time. This is a job that any mechanic should be able to handle easily, which means that the service cost should not be too extensive. Overall costs depend on the type of vehicle you drive and if there is other damage the mechanic must fix when changing the wheel bearing.