So, how long should bearings last?

While circumstances vary, best practices suggest bearings should last eight to 12 years if properly maintained
By Andy Page, GP Allied August 9, 2013

A guideline designed to show you how long bearings should last and when the ideal time to replace them is. Courtesy: Allied GPAs 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.