Okay, I have a 2001 Saturn SC2 with 180,000 miles racked up. Lately, when I’m out driving, it sounds like a small prop plane. Yet, when I move the steering wheel just a bit to the left, the noise vanishes, until I steer back toward the center.
I’m dreading taking it to my mechanic, even though the shop is quite good. Any ideas on what this might be before I head in to the Temple of Doom?
What you might be hearing is a wheel bearing starting to go out. http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=219150&cc=1368716
To find out, raise the front tires off the ground. Grab each tire at the 6:00 and 12:00 oclock positions and try rocking the tire in and out. If there’s any movement in the tire that wheel bearing is bad.
I think tester is absolutely correct, except that the test he suggests may not indicate the bad wheel bearing. You have to remove the tire, attach a dial indicator clamped to the steering knuckle and then pull and push on the hub. Any movement detected by the dial indicator would indicate a bad wheel bearing, movements so small that you wouldn’t detect them by pulling and pushing on the tire. The limit for play is 0.001" or 0.02mm.
You can also rotate the hub and listen for the roughness.
@WAnglais you may want to consider having both wheel bearings replaced at this time. The one that isn’t bad has seen just as many miles.
I have a 99 SC2 with 188000 miles; it did the same thing a couple of years ago. The noise seemed to be coming from the left front wheel, but it was the right front bearing that was bad. Go figure!