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Car makes a humming noise that gets louder at certain speeds

My 2010 civic started making noise about a couple of months ago. It appears to be coming from the front wheel area driver side. The humming starts off with a lower tone (almost like a small plane flying overhead) and gets louder at certain speeds (35-40mph; 55-65 mph). I have switched to neutral and even turned off the engine momentarily(after ensuring it is safe on a lightly traveled road) to be sure that it is not from the engine.

I took it to a Honda dealership and had the service person take a look and he told me that it was the brakes that was causing this. I have a hard time believing him because I do not hear any sounds when I apply the brakes.

I had tires replaced since the original tires that were on the car were close to wearing out and was hoping that would fix the problem. But that did not appear to be the problem.

I was thinking about the unexpected and that could be the wheel bearings which I would be shocked to see it go bad in a car that has ~40K highway miles.


Any thoughts?? Also, would you recommend any good dealerships in the Northern VA area that have good service departments?
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Comments

  • Bad wheel bearing comes to mind, try a different dealer for warranty repairs.
  • It was unclear, but did you say the problem wasn't present when you stepped on the brakes? If so, the problem is in the brakes.
  • edited September 2012
    Yeah, along with @CapriRacer, if the noise is there and then it disappears when you hit the brake, it likely is indeed the brakes.
    There's a tab on the pads that rides on top of the rotor to make screechy sound when they have worn down. Brakes are not under warranty and 40K is about right.
    Usually front brakes go first because that's where most the weight is but a friend of mine has that same car and I understand that Hondas of that vintage have a propensity of the rear brakes going first because they are undersized. See where the noise is coming from. It travels.
    If you're halfway handy and mechanically inclined, you could pop a wheel off and look where the pad is. You'll notice a piece of spring steel that is now touching the rotor.
    If you're daring enough or have done it before, you could replace those brake pads yourself pretty easily, if that's what's going on.

    If the noise doesn't go away when you tap the brakes, @barkydog advice is the one to consider.
    Bearings should be under warranty so that shouldn't cost you anything.

    Regardless, get it looked at soon.

  • After driving for a while, pull over and touch the front brakes. If the left front brake feels hot, suspect a problem with this brake. If it feels to be normal temperature, suspect the wheel bearing.

  • Guys, Thanks for the replies.
    I meant to say that applying the brakes did not have any effect on the humming noise.
    The dealership told me that it was due to the brakes but I was not convinced since I could hear it during motion when the brakes are not applied.
    I will try a different dealership .
    Again, I appreciate your help.
  • @gshankara dude would mind posting here what would be the mechanics' conclusion about your car. same thing happening on my honda accord when i reach 40 km/hr onwards. thanks

  • @jamessss:
    Since the OP has not posted anything to the Car Talk forum for the past 5 months, I really doubt if he/she is still monitoring this thread at this point.

    If you have a question about your car, you would be much better-off if you asked questions in your own new thread, rather than "glomming on" to a 5 month old thread that is essentially dead.
    Go to the upper right-hand portion of the page, find the red button labeled, "Ask a Question", and then post a question regarding your own situation.
This discussion has been closed.