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Audi A3 tire/rim noise

I just purchased a used Audi A3 with 33,000 miles on it. The tire noise seems excessive. I had the dealer check the balance and rims and they claim them to be fine. It has 17’ rims and new Cooper Zeon Sport A/S tires. Do I just live with it or did they misdiagnose the problem? My wife’s car sounded similar and that turned out to be bent rims a while back.

Okay guys, not getting much help here. I’ve read many other tire problems on this website and one potential culprit is wheel bearings. So, at highway speeds can this be checked out? I don’t notice the noise at lower speeds so turning right or left won’t work for me.

Update guys…The dealer is replacing the tires for me at no cost… However, the cause of the cupping remains unknown/diagnosed. I plan on having an alignment done. How soon should I have the new tires checked to see if this is still going be a problem?

Still no help guys… how soon will the cupping reappear if it is still a problem?

With only 33k miles on the odometer, it is not likely that you have wheel bearing problems.
Possible? Yes
Likely? No

However, just a few minutes of browsing a couple of sites with consumer ratings of this tire has yielded a lot of comments about excessive noise from these tires. While some people found them to be noisy from the get-go, others commented that they became very noisy after ~40k miles. One of the many people commenting about noise from these tires stated that his car now “sounds like a monster truck” because of these tires.

The likelihood is that the tires are to blame, but a simple “spin & shake test” of your front wheels should give you an indication of whether there is a problem with the wheel bearings. If you do decide that the tires are to blame, you can evaluate possible replacement tires via the Tire Rack website. Among other factors that are rated is the road noise of each tire.

Too bad the dealer picked a lousy tire then isn’t it? I hope that all this is, as tires are an easy fix. I’ll look into this. Any other thoughts out there?

First, you have to consider the fact that these are high-performance tires. Most hp tires do have more road noise than non-hp tires. That is the type of trade-off that takes place when a manufacturer designs a tire for a particular type of use.

Then, you have to realize that people typically select Cooper tires on the basis of price, and this is undoubtedly why the dealer chose to put Cooper tires on the car. They represent a good value, albeit with some trade-offs, just like many other products that strive to be lower in price than the competition.

When a product is designed to be highly price-competitive, it is likely that more trade-offs will be present than there would be on a tire on which more development money was spent–like a Michelin, for instance. Coopers are decent tires, but they are far from the best.

buy two new better tires. then drive it. if there is a difference in noise, then replace the other two.

on second thought, go to a reputable tire shop. ask them how much (and if they would do it?) would they sell you two matched tires (from someone elses cast offs) and mount them on your rims. this way you dont have to buy two new expensive tires. if these tires are less noisy, then replace all 4. i am sure if you talk to a reputable tire shop you could come to some agreement about the cost of swapping the tires, provided you buy new from them later.

Feel around the edges of the tyres. If you feel a wavy surface, that could be an indication of an alignment or suspension problem.

Tires only have 100 miles on them, so I don’t think this test will work.

Turns out the tires are cupped. What causes this guys?

Cupping of tires is almost always the result of damaged or worn suspension components.
You could attempt to have an alignment done, but this alone is unlikely to solve the problem by itself.
More than likely, you will need to replace ball joints and/or struts and/or possibly even wheel bearings. After repairs, an alignment will be needed.

In the 33k miles that the previous owner(s) drove the car, it is not possible to know how many curbs he/she may have hit, or how often the car was driven on really bad roads. It is even possible that the previous owner used too high a tire pressure, thus causing the tires to transmit too much of the impact from potholes to the front end components.

If these are ultra low-profile tires, you should be aware that this type of tire by itself can lead to front end damage from bad roads.

To get back to the original question, it is possible that you do have bad bearings, and that this led to both noise and tire cupping. Then the cupped tires produced even more noise. One way or another, this car needs to be repaired a.s.a.p., as this is a safety issue in addition to a noise issue.

I am going to disagree with VDC driver. Classically what he says is true, but the common usage of the word “Cupping” includes versions of wear that are caused strictly by misalignment.

Nevertheless, a good alignment tech will look at components and advise you which need replacing.

Cooper Zeon Sport A/S are noiser and ho hum performance tires. However price reflects that. Great in snow though.

I think its the tires.

I took it to a tire shop and had all the suspension parts checked out…everything is fine. They can find no problems with any parts and the alignment is true. Strange indeed. Its got to be the tires.

The rear tires on front-drive cars cup badly when not rotated. You don’t really know the source of these tires, they may have been cast -offs from a tire dealer who replaced them for a customer.

My experience says that the published alignment tolerances are too wide. Not the target value, but the allowable deviation from that value. I think it ought to be half of what is published.

Put another way, the alignment should be within the inner half of the spec.

You should be aware that even vehicles that do not have a pull can be out of alignment. There are settings where one out of spec condition is offset by another out of spec condition ? typically camber vs toe.

So, no, it’s not the tires. It’s the alignment. Even the best tires can get cupping wear if the alignment is bad - and it’s a matter of degree.

So, get new tires and an alignment?

Update guys…The dealer is replacing the tires for me at no cost… However, the cause of the cupping remains unknown/diagnosed. I plan on having an alignment done. How soon should I have the new tires checked to see if this is still going be a problem?

please re-read my updated first post and advise

So what did the alignment show? I’ll bet that is the source.

How long before checking? You should be rotating your tires more frequently than that interval. That way you don’t allow the problem to become so huge you have to throw away the tires - after all, once you diagnose you have the problem, the problem is pretty much there permanently.

The alignment was indeed off, especially the right rear tire. So I’ll hope for the best. I plan on rotations every 5,000 miles…does that seem reasonable?