Heat and friction destroys bearings in manual transmissions and other important components

How Heat and Friction Destroys Bearings

Heat and friction destroys bearings and is a common enemy of automobiles and bearings. They affect an automotive system from the inside and lead to problems such as wear and tear and bad fuel economy. Here, we discuss how these two factors work to destroy one of the smallest units of automobiles: the gears and bearings in transmissions and other components.

The most common types of bearings found in manual transmissions are  plain, ball, roller, tapered roller, and needle. Learn how heat and friction destroys bearings.A Closer Look at How Heat and Friction Destroys Bearings in Manual Transmissions

There are five common types of bearings found in manual transmissions: plain, ball, roller, tapered roller, and needle. Plain bearings are those used on an engine’s lower end with no moving parts. These bearings are not that commonly used in modern manual transmissions now because they wear quickly and it’s difficult to maintain a pressurized system in a transmission. Here, an oil film usually develops to hold the two bearings together and reduce friction. However, since heat and friction destroys bearings in all types of applications, it bears mentioning.

Ball bearings, on the other hand, are very effective in tolerating radial and axial load combination. A lot of modern heavy-duty transmissions use bearings that can now accommodate heavier axial loads. In this scenario, heat and friction destroys bearings by adding these two forces, or loads at the same time.

Roller bearings are slightly similar to ball bearings except that they have hardened steel pins or rollers instead of balls. They are also better in supporting radial loads of any given size than roller bearings. Tapered roller bearings, on the other hand, are better at coping with severe thrust and radial loads. The way that heat and friction destroys bearings in these bearing types, is tied very closely to how the lubricant performs under these pressures and conditions.

Needle roller or small-diameter bearings are commonly used in manual transmissions between the shaft and the driven gears. They serve a very important role since they can withstand high-speed differences without causing friction and excessive heat transfer.

Unnecessary, heat and friction destroys bearings of manual transmissions.Role of Friction on Bearing Wear and Overall Car Performance

Friction’s most basic definition is the force that prevents smooth and easy movement of two moving surfaces in contact with each other. With friction comes wear and tear and thus the need for lubrication. In automobiles, the gears and bearings in manual transmissions are units that do a great amount of movement. Since redesigning the shaft and bearing of an already existing unit is not always an option, lubricants are used instead to reduce friction. Once you grasp an idea on how heat and friction destroys bearings, one can see how proper lubrication is the only option to add reliability.

Eliminating the heat and overcoming friction on moving parts, like the valves, pistons, and gears cut the lost energy that are a result of unnecessary friction. Due to friction, the power produced by an engine’s manual transmission is consumed in gear friction, brake friction, wind friction, and rolling friction of tires instead. Gear wear and bearing wear, moreover, is the cause behind the majority of most maintenance and repair demands for clutches, gear boxes, brakes, and even the whole automobile itself.

Bearings also play very big roles in other functions of a car. The differential, for example, is the part that works with the manual transmission to bring power from the engine to the axle responsible for turning the wheels. It generally runs on 2 tapered roller bearings with the differential shaft journals fitted by double sided contact bearings. Improper movement of these causes excessive rubbing of these parts and lead to shaft wear and differential failure.

The same also goes for power steering systems. Ball bearings wound their way into the car’s steering worm drive and press a channel inside the nut which forces the nut to move into the worm drive. Worm drives make use of recirculating ball bearings that help in reducing frictional forces. It also allows the force of the steering to be felt in the wheel. These bearings and its mechanism help with vehicle control and wear prevention. When the ball bearings are subjected to too much heat, it can lead to wear and tear in some of the parts and cause difficulties in steering precisely. Today, many power steering systems utilize a rack and pinion setup over the older worm drives. However, heat, friction and fluid loss are the leading causes of failure in these systems as well.

To put it simply, since heat and friction destroys bearings… reducing friction, heat and wear on bearings leads to less downtime, increased service life, and lower operating costs.

The question now is, “What is the best way to reduce heat and friction in these bearings and the parts they move?” Below are some possible options.


The use of oil or lubricants effectively reduces surface contact of bearings in manual transmissions. It is important to note, however, that using too much oil can  cause friction and power loss due to internal fluid friction. This sounds counter intuitive, however this is why you should always follow the manufacturer’s recommended fluid levels.

Since heat and friction destroys bearings... smaller bearings and special coatings are now being developed to reduce friction in manual transmissions.Smaller Bearings and Special Coatings in Manual Transmissions

Lately, engine designers have turned to using smaller bearings in order to cut surface area in manual transmissions. Together with this comes the introduction of special coatings that also reduce heat and friction. These products are usually polymer coatings that reduce friction by up to 50 percent. Coated bearings aid the stop-start systems of manual transmissions which is a huge cause of wear and tear on bearings.

At present, more and more types of bearings are continuously being developed to reduce friction as much as possible.

Using a quality metal treatment for your manual transmission can help as well. These products lessen heat and friction and also improves overall vehicle performance. A lubricating grease can also help protect bearings by providing lubricating qualities at wide range of temperatures.

Read More

heat and friction cause a great negative impact on transmissions by affecting its internal parts.

Heat and Friction and its Impact on Transmissions

November 23, 2013 • Enthusiasts, Mostly Trucks • Views: 2307

Curious of the ways that can help you spare your gearbox or transmission from these factors? Read on for a crash course about them. Manual Transmissions: The Basics Standard transmissions, also known as manual gearbox or manual transmission is a …

Heat and friction are factors that can affect engine performance and fuel economy in vehicles.

Heat and Friction: Primary Enemies of Car Engines

November 21, 2013 • Enthusiasts • Views: 9033

Engines, Heat, and Friction A modern internal combustion engine is comprised of dozens of moving parts. Without proper oiling, these parts run against each other with tremendous speed, creating friction which then leads to heat. This heat can wear the …

A lot of efforts have been placed to control and lower diesel particulate matter emissions.

Diesel Emissions and Black Soot: What are We Doing to Control Them?

November 14, 2013 • Enthusiasts, Mostly Trucks • Views: 5342

e United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) With the use of a nationwide network of monitoring sites, the EPA came up with ambient air quality trends for particulate matter (PM) and diesel emissions. Set under the Clean Air Act, EPA …

Trucks are one of the leading sources of diesel exhaust and particulate matter.

The Dark Side of Diesel Exhaust

November 13, 2013 • Enthusiasts, Mostly Trucks • Views: 2258

Emissions vary a lot in particle sizes and chemical compositions depending on factors like engine type, operating conditions, and fuel formulations. There is also a great difference between off-road and on-road engines with the former being an older, less efficient …

One of the many sources of particulate emissions are diesel trucks. Learn about them here.

What Are Particulate Emissions?

November 13, 2013 • Enthusiasts, Mostly Trucks • Views: 3422

Let’s take a closer look at these particulate emissions in this article. Factors Affecting the Release of Emissions: There are several factors that affect a vehicle’s rate of emitting pollutants. Size Accumulated mileage Fuel used Weather conditions Vehicle’s condition Diesel …

Contact patch of tires affect steering position, vehicle speed, and many other factors.

The Fuss about Contact Patch of Tires

November 11, 2013 • Enthusiasts • Views: 3412

Why is it important? The contact patch of tires is the only connection between the vehicle and the road. Its characteristics (e.g. shape and size), therefore, play a huge role on important handling characteristics and ride qualities of the vehicle. …

Following some precautions is needed for winter driving.

Braving Winter Driving With Your Trailer the Right Way

November 11, 2013 • Enthusiasts • Views: 1808

Preparing the Trailer: Towing involves a certain set of chores, the most important ones being trailer preparation and maintenance. Besides from keeping yourself safe, following certain measures also clears you from certain laws that can put a damp on your …

Winter blends are now being used earlier due to prices peaking.

The Battle of the Blends: Issues on Winter Blends and Ethanol Blend Wall

November 8, 2013 • Enthusiasts • Views: 2235

The rise of the price of gasoline has pushed a lot of issues into light lately. One of the most controversial topics in the industry presently is the gasoline blends traditionally not used in certain circumstances. Below, I quote some …