So, how long should bearings last?
As stated in the main article, bearings are sometimes replaced when they are still perfectly functional. This is partly because many maintenance personnel do not understand how long a bearing should reasonably be expected to last, presenting a formidable barrier to reliability and optimization. Were you to ask a roomful of professionals, “How long do bearings last?” you would get a wide variety of answers, ranging from a couple of years to indefinitely.
When properly maintained, most bearings should last approximately eight to 12 years. Bearing lifespans are represented through a concept called the L10 life.
The L10 life is the age to which approximately 90% of bearings of a sufficiently large population under similar conditions will survive. The “10” in L10 refers to the 10% of bearings that will not reach the L10 life.
The life of a bearing should be approximately five times the calculated L10 life (again, as a solid rule of thumb, usually around eight to 12 years). Check your manufacturer’s specifications for further information and to get a better idea of how long your bearings should reasonably last.
Andy Page is a principal with GP Allied. For more information, resources, and solutions regarding subsurface fatigue and other ways bearings fail, visit www.uesystems.com or www.gpallied.com.
– See main article below discussing bearing failure and what to look for.