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2. Unit bearings usually only fail when the seals are damaged and allow sand, mud, water, or grit inside, which contaminates the grease until it no longer lubricates the bearings. You may first notice a bearing squeal. Then if you lift the front axle and are able to wiggle the wheel when pushing in or out on the top and bottom of the tire, it's pretty likely that the unit bearing has failed and you need to replace it.