03 Jetta Wagon

My car knowledge is very limited, but I have listened to enough car talk to be dangerous. My car has 130k miles and has recently developed a worrying noise. It makes an extra whirring sound, like another set of gears spinning, but I don’t think I would describe it as a grinding noise. I live in VT and I thought maybe it was my (studless) snow tires making more noise in the warm weather because I noticed it about a month and a half ago when it warmed up. Now that I have my all season tires on, it’s still making the noise. The tire guys didn’t notice anything wrong when the swap happened (but they only do tires there and I didn’t ask them to look for anything). As far as I can tell it is dependent on wheel speed, not engine speed. It starts at about 20-25mph and gets louder the faster I go. At about 65 the normal road noise is louder than the new noise. If I turn the wheel to the right to any degree the noise goes away. I can’t tell if it is completely gone, but it seems like it is. There is no real change if I turn the wheel to the left, though it might get slightly worse. When the noise is going I can feel a vibration in the floorboard that matches the sound. The sound seems like it is coming from in front of me, but I can’t really tell if it is left, right, or center. As far as I can tell that is the only new noise, no clicking/griding when I turn the wheel etc.

Does anyone have any ideas? Is there any other information needed to figure this out? I’m taking it in for normal 130k maintenance in a week, but I would like to have some idea of what it could be before throwing myself on the mercy of a dealership (though they seem trustworthy enough).

It could be a wheel bearing. Push on the top and sides of each front tire as see if you can feel any play in the wheel.

It does sort of describe a front wheel bearing problem. Usually the sound is reported as a “growl” that gets louder the faster you go. Since it goes away turning right, that would be consistent with the right front wheel bearing being the problem. But it could be a host of other things too unrelated to the wheel bearing.

Sounds like a wheel bearing

I advise you to replace both front wheel bearings. If one is bad, the other may not be far behind, as it’s experienced the same conditions