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02 Honda Civic SiR with Goodyear Eagle Sport All Season tires.

I've been getting a humming noise at about 40km/h and higher. I changed over from winter tires about a month ago, but I can't recall whether the noise was present before that.

Noise characteristics:

  • starts at about 40km/h and is present at any higher speed
  • constant pitch (does not follow road speed)
  • volume is nearly constant, maybe a little louder with increased road speed
  • present in and out of gear, clutch in or out
  • turning left or right does not change or affect the noise
  • no vibrations anywhere while coasting, accelerating, braking, or turning

Of note:

  • car tracks perfectly straight while coasting, accelerating, and braking
  • tire ages range from 3-4 years
  • tread on the same tire ranges from 8/32 to 10/32 (edge tread vs middle tread). Is this normal? I check my tire pressures regularly to keep them correctly inflated, but I can't speak for the previous owner.

It's difficult to get a good recording of it. I would describe his a mid-pitch hum (edit: I can tell you the tone is one B above middle C :) and not the typical low rumbling/growling I often hear described as wheel bearing failure.

  • Put one hand on the spring and spin the tire by hand. If the wheel bearing is making noise usually you can feel it in the spring. If you don’t have a helper run the car at higher speeds and use a stethoscope. – Ben May 10 at 12:38
  • A pretty reliable way to test out whether the problem is a wheel bearing, is jack up the car (securely) one wheel at a time, put one hand at the top of the tire, the other hand at the bottom, and rock the tire in and out (top and bottom). Oftentimes, if the wheel bearing is the problem, you'll feel movement in the tire that shouldn't be there. Replace both sides at the same time if it's a bearing issue. Most often, the opposite bearing will start failing not too long after the first. – stevieb May 13 at 14:36
  • Thanks for the suggestions. I've done the wheel bearing tests and I'm not finding any obvious movement. The other thing I've noticed is that the volume of the noise changes significantly on different road surfaces, so this leads me to believe it's most likely just tires. – Recovering Nerdaholic May 14 at 16:41

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