Car: 2007 Pontiac G6, 140k miles, well-maintained

  • recently replaced all brake pads and rotors

Problem: I hear a grinding or growling sound when I'm driving. The sound starts around when I'm going 10-15 mph and continues at higher speeds.

  • Growling is not metallic, but reminds me of the sound of poff-road tires on pavement, but worse.

  • The sound does not get louder at faster speeds, but certainly increases in frequency (i.e., higher pitched "whirring" sound) as my speed increases.

    • The sound is not affected by accelerating per se, but only based on the actual speed of the vehicle at the moment.

It sounds like the growling/grinding is coming from the front of the vehicle, but I cannot tell from which side

My guess: I'm thinking either a bad wheel bearing or a bad CV joint.

  • To be honest, I don't know enough about the parts on this car to know which it might be.

Question: Can anyone confirm that either or both of these parts could create a growling sound that changes pitch as I increase my speed?

  • I've seen other websites suggesting that both are possible, but typically they comment about CV joints having a clicking sound while turning and a bad bearing resulting in a growling sound getting louder not higher pitched.

Can I figure this out without taking it to a mechanic? (I just have a floor jack btw).

  • jack up and support the front end of the car. place your hand on the spring and rotate the wheel by hand. a bad wheel bearing will generate vibration in the spring. – Ben Oct 5 '17 at 23:44
  • the tire only rotates a quarter of a turn. Do I need to jack up the whole front axle? – theforestecologist Oct 6 '17 at 1:51
  • 2
    yes. you could try blocking the rear wheels and putting it in neutral as well. – Ben Oct 6 '17 at 1:52
  • I'm having what seems to be the exact same problem with my 07 Pontiac g6 and wondering if you found the problem using that trouble shooting? – Mike Apr 4 '19 at 13:33
  • @Mike see my answer below – theforestecologist Apr 4 '19 at 13:58

The problem was a bad wheel bearing on front passenger wheel. On the G6, I had to replace the entire wheel hub assembly to fix the problem.

A few tips in this process:

  1. I used a 4 ft steel pipe to provide extra leverage to my breaker bar in order to "break" the axle nut -- best $6 I ever spent.

  2. I "rented" a wheel hub press to remove the wheel hub and a torque wrench to ensure proper torque on the axle nut when I was done. Both were free from whichever national auto parts store I lived by at the time (Advanced Auto Parts perhaps?).

  3. After a stressful 2 hours of failing to get my rusty wheel hub off, I turned to smashing the sh*t out of the hub with a sledge hammer. Wish I had done it right away!!

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