My 2011 malibu has approx. 20,000 miles, it makes a loud humming noise that is very annoying, can’t even hear someone talking and must turn up the radio. It gets much worse when you get up to 55mph and above. I thought it might be the tires but they look good, but could it still be the tires? Anyone have ideas?
Yes, it could be the tires. Some tire models become fairly noisy once a significant amount of tread wear takes place–particularly if there is an uneven wear pattern. Have these tires been rotated on schedule?
However, the noise could also be coming from a wheel bearing that is going dry. In the interest of safety, I would suggest having the wheel bearings checked soon. If it turns out to be a bearing problem, this will be covered by warranty.
+1 with VDCDriver: get it checked, especially if it wasn’t there before.
If the pitch of the noise changes when the steering wheel is turned off-center (i.e. changing lanes) may indicate a bad wheel bearing.
I would bet Tires. Moving the wheel off center changes the angle at which the tires contact the road. Some tires are noisier than others. Rotating may move the noise to the back. If you let go of the wheel, does the car drift significantly one direction or the other? Could be alignment. Manufacturers put cheap tires on and they never last. When buying new tires, most tire reviews include road noise in their reviews.
if its the tires odds are they will be your responsibility,the hubs on the other hand will be a warranty item. edb is correct find an open road with no traffic and turn steering from left to right and see if noise changes any, however i have seen times where the bearing is so bad and noisy that you really cant tell a difference as to which side the noise may be coming from and while unlikely i have seen both front hubs go out at same time.only way hubs will not be warranty is if you have had an accident that contributed to the problem. accident could mean hitting a curb or having a salvage title. customer came in with a camaro with steering problems and noises and when we told him it wasnt covered he was all bent out of shape but when the lower control arm is bent and there are scratches all under the front end thats not manufacturer defect. i have to disagree with knfenimore on manufactures put cheap tires on thier cars, the biggest problem i see with tires on new cars is the owners not properly maintaining them ie keeping them properly inflated and rotated.