High-pitched squeaking or whistling from any corner of the car
Noises get faster and/or louder with speed
Repack wheel/hub bearing with grease
Replace wheel/hub bearing
Replace entire hub assembly
Brake cleaner, spray can - $5
Automotive grease - $10
Brand new hub assembly, from Mazda dealer - $500
Prices are in U.S. dollars.
The bearings usually give ample warning that they are failing. High-pitched
squeaking that changes with vehicle speed is a good clue.
You can do a quick test by jacking the tires up and shaking the tire / rim in and
out. If you sense any play in the tire / rim, the bearing is possibly loose
or failing. Be wary that loose suspension components (idler arm, shock/strut
mount) could also cause play. Inspect the bolts and nuts that secure the hub
to the rest of the suspension to make sure they are all tight.
The front bearing are rebuildable, regardless of what Mazda dealer will
tell you; they will claim you need to replace the entire hub (at a cost of ~$400US!).
Mazdatrix has a write-up on replacing the front bearings on their website.
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