My '98 Honda CRV with 190k miles has begun to make a curious sort of noise. I noticed a sort of humming noise coming from in front and somewhat to the left of the steering wheel a couple weeks ago, but could never get it to happen while I had the hood up in my driveway. The other day I rolled down the window and drove slowly around my neighborhood to figure out what made the noise happen.
First thing I learned is that it is much louder than I initially thought. And it sounds like a sort of screeching metal on metal sound, with a sort of humming. It always starts when I am moving slowly, such as when starting from a stop at a stop light, or going very slowly around the neighborhood. Turning the steering wheel seems to aggravate it, and make it more likely to start screeching. It will begin while driving straight, however. Once the noise begins, it stays until I come back to a complete stop. I even tried stopping it by putting it in neutral and using the parking brake, and no difference, so nothing to do with the brakes. The brake rotors were also turned by the previous owner before selling it. My first guess would be a CV joint, because the boot on that wheel is not sealed properly. But my father, in his experience, says bad CV joints could make the steering feel more loose, and when starting and stopping you could feel some slop, neither of which he could detect when driving it. Steering feels tight, there is no play, and I have not been able to detect any other deficiency besides that awful noise.
So, is this a CV joint? A wheel bearing? Is it something else I have not thought of? And, how difficult are these to replace yourself with a good set of tools?