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I have a 2009 Honda Civic (LX, I think, not sure how I can definitively tell since it's been a while), and yesterday, I got the front tires replaced with new ones (size 205/55) and all 4 wheels aligned to factory specs at a local Town Fair Tires. However, for some reason, there's now noises at very low speeds, with the following observations:

  1. When I first start driving after not driving for 8+ hours, no issues, no noises at low speeds or any speeds.
  2. The more I drive, the more frequent the "squeaking" / grinding noise at low speeds (typically from 0.1 mph to 15 or 20 mph or so).
  3. It doesn't ALWAYS happen, but when it does, it seems to correlate to the rotation of the tires (because the squeaking / grinding seems rhythmic in nature).
  4. It happens most often at very low speeds, and at higher speeds the noise suddenly cuts off and is very smooth and no issues.
  5. It doesn't seem to correlate with braking, as when I accelerate at low speeds, I also have this noise.
  6. It doesn't seem to correlate with RPMs, as at higher speeds but low/minimal RPMs, I don't have this noise.
  7. The car has been driven a long time (3+ years) without re-alignment of the tires, so not sure if this is the cause of that noise because the tires were suddenly re-aligned.

So this is very mysterious...I Googled and do not understand half the technical terms used by the forums out there, so I am wondering if this is because of:

  • The new tires are poor in quality
  • Problems with wheel bearings (no idea what this means)
  • Problems with new alignment because the car was driven for a long time with "bad alignment"

Any insights will be helpful.

Edit: I went back to the Town Fair tire and asked the mechanic to look at why it's squealing and he found that the installation of new tires was causing contact with the rotors, I believe. The problem is now resolved.

  • To add -- I don't feel any "vibration" (or at least not detectable to me) when it squeaks / grinds in noise. I can only hear it. – Uzumaki Naruto Jun 1 '17 at 13:05
  • With the car stationary put the steering at full lock to the left and inspect the tyres, then full lock to the right and again inspect the tyres. look for evidence of scoring/rubbing on the shoulders and tread of the tyres - they may be rubbing on body work. – Mauro Jun 1 '17 at 13:23
  • I have a theory what you may be hearing, but have a few questions first. Does this happen on a particular type of surface (blacktop, asphalt, etc.)? Do environmental conditions cause it to vary (hot pavement vs cold pavement)? Is it more pronounced when turning? – CharlieRB Jun 1 '17 at 14:23
  • This is very tough to tell, re: the type of surface. This happens both in morning and evening so I suppose the temperature of the pavement does not matter. It doesn't seem to be more pronounced when turning, about the same...seem more correlated with speed. – Uzumaki Naruto Jun 1 '17 at 15:50
  • @Mauro, I did this last night, and looked very closely at the tires, and felt the "inner side" that faces the interior side of the car as well...I feel the bristles, so it indicates there isn't any scoring / rubbing. So I don't think this is the cause... – Uzumaki Naruto Jun 2 '17 at 12:16
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May also be very possible that your brakes have gone out. When your brakes wear they rub the rotors causing the grinding and the squealing due to it being metal on metal. You want to have this looked at ASAP.

  • This was the closest suggestion -- the brakes have not gone out, but i went back to the Town Fair tire and asked the mechanic to look at why it's squealing and he found that the installation of new tires was causing contact with the rotors, I believe. The brakes are still ok. The problem is now fixed. – Uzumaki Naruto Jun 5 '17 at 15:13
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I'm not positive this is your specific defect but it's something to be aware of.

It's quite possible the tire shop futzed your tire pressure sending unit inside the tire and now the pressure sending unit is loose within tire. I just worked on a car with this defect and the low speed noises sound similar to your description.

Verify by removing the entire wheel and rolling it on the ground ten feet. You'll know right away if that is your defect.

  • Ok, thanks. If the other suggestions above don't work then I will take this to the shop and ask them to test and figure out why (and suggest this may be the cause). – Uzumaki Naruto Jun 1 '17 at 15:51
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There's a few things to answer here:

  • Do you have an LX It's not important for your issue, but if you really want to know, search Google for a Honda VIN decoder and enter your VIN.
  • Worn out wheel bearings I've had this happen to 2 vehicles. The noise would get worse at higher speeds, and get even worse while steering at high speeds (curve on the highway, lane change on the highway). The wheel bearings are inside the wheel hub and allow the wheels to roll with minimum friction. They are little steel balls with a lot of grease around them. Sometimes, the grease goes bad, the balls lose their shape or dirt and metal shavings get in there, causing friction and noise. This is probably not your issue.
  • Check your tire pressures I've had tire shops set my pressures wrong before, so, don't trust them. If you don't have a tire pressure gauge, get one (don't spend more than $5) and measure the pressures at all 4 tires when the tires are cold (not in the sun, not driven in the last hour). Find what the normal pressures are for your car, they are usually printed on a sticker inside the driver's door or on the frame where the driver's door latches. Make sure your pressures are within 1 PSI of what they need to be.
  • Noisy tires What brand and model of tires did they put on your car? Some tires are noisier than others. Also, some tires are what we call "directional," meaning they are designed to roll in one direction only. With your brand and model of tire, we can tell if it is a directional tire, but it would also say on the tire if they are, with an arrow and the word rotation printed on the sidewall of the tire. See the pictures below for 2 examples. If your tires are directional, for each tire, make little circles in the air with your finger in the direction the arrow says, and make sure that it is the same direction the tire would be rolling when you drive forwards. If it's not, they installed your tires backwards. They did this to my Mom a few years ago. enter image description hereenter image description here
  • Inspect your tires As indicated in another answer, inspect your tires. They are brand new (right?), so you would expect them to be pristine. The surface needs to be somewhat smooth and uniform. Look for "shredding" marks, blisters, scratch marks, anything.
  • Thanks for the detailed questions. My answers: 1) Yes, LX; 2) The noise disappears at high speeds, so as you mentioned, probably not the case here... 3) It's a Zeetex, 205/55...it doesn't seem directional, probably bi-directional, 4) There does not seem to be any shredding, blisters, scratchmarks, as far as I can see... – Uzumaki Naruto Jun 2 '17 at 12:32
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When (un)mounting wheels people sometimes touch the dust shield(?) (the one from this question), bending it out of shape a little. The piece may subsequently touch the inner part of the rim slightly causing a metallic, grinding sound.

Check the inner part of the rims for any signs of scrapings and/or try to bend the shield a little in one direction or the other a few mm. 1mm of clearance may be enough.

  • I am not sure what is the "inner part of the rims"...do i need to take the tire off? I don't have the tools to do that. – Uzumaki Naruto Jun 2 '17 at 12:38
  • No need to take the tire off. What I mean is the part of the rim that's behind the spokes, toward the "inside" of the vehicle. – JimmyB Jun 2 '17 at 12:51

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