5 Symptoms of Throw Out Bearing Failure & Maintenance

Jerry Wilson
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What is Throw-out Bearing Failure?

A throw-out bearing (also referred to as a thrust bearing) is a clutch-like mechanism that allows you to disengage a drive component without taking apart the assembly.

For example, when you operate a two-stage clutch on a vehicle, there is a throw-out bearing at the end of the coupling where the clutch and the transmission meet up. That is what provides the space for the two parts to move independently of one another.

A throw-out bearing system is any of the parts that deliver this function. On your vehicle, that includes the clutch push rod, the clutch master cylinder, the throw-out bearing itself, and the clutch plate.

They are typically used in racing, off-roading, and in heavy-duty applications.

Overuse, lack of lube, or not allowing the unit to cool properly (if a liquid-based grease is used) can all result in premature failure. In the end, you want to be extra sure that your bearing is good to go for the next time you drag it out.

Throw Out Bearing Failure Symptoms

There are some diagnostics the operator can perform which can give a pretty good idea as to how much life there is left in the throw out bearing. For example, if the operator smells a burning smell after the machine is in use it may indicate the beginning of throw out bearing failure. The operator can often observe grinding or hard spots while grinding the bean during the extraction process.

Beyond these basic observations, there are more specific diagnostic tools that can be utilized.

Small fragments of metal on the outside of the casing will indicate wear on the throw out bearing. Also a magnetic borescope can be used to view the throw out bearing. If a throw out bearing is worn, the high friction area will have a dark grey appearance. If there are hard spots on the bearing they will also be clearly visible on the borescope.

All of these diagnosis tools should be used to identify when a throw out bearing needs to be replaced. By replacing the throw out bearing before it fails, the risk of damaged equipment will be greatly reduced.

Handy Tips to Prevent Throw Out Failure

Throw out bearings are the key components of the clutch mechanism on a skateboard. A lot of people think that broken or worn out bearings are a signal of premature skateboarding obsolescence. You might hear people say, “Get a new board; that bearings are no good anymore.”

However, a lot of the time this is not really the case. You can often save a great set of wheels by replacing the bearings. Whether you are doing it yourself or having someone else do it, it’s inexpensive and simple to do.

Here are five symptoms of your skateboard’s bearings needing to be replaced.

They Don’t Spin as Smoothly as They Used To

If your bearings feel rough when you spin them between your fingers, the balls may be getting worn out. If you rotating the wheel and you hear a loud, high-pitched grinding sound, it’s likely the ball bearings are either loose or broken.

They Are Difficult to Bear

Sometimes if you feel a lot of resistance when you roll your board around, one of your bearings may have come loose because of wear and tear. If it’s only one, you can probably fix the problem by tightening it. If both bearings are rough, they both need to be replaced.


Again, having the right knowledge and information helps when it comes to making a decision on how to approach our toys, our vehicles, our homes, our friends and our families.

Hopefully this knowledge will help you be safer and more skillful with your Betta, tank, and even with your friends and family!