Car humming/thumping noise louder at increased speed?

#1

I recently purchased a Honda Accord 2001. However, for the last couple of weeks I have been hearing this humming/thumping noise which seems to be coming from the rear. I spoke with two different mechanics and one says it could be the wheel bearings and possibly bad struts, whereas the other mechanic thinks getting new tires would make the noise go away. I am confused. It?s frustrating to constantly hear this noise; it only gets louder with increased speed, 60-65 mph, although it starts at around 40mph. I checked my tires and all, except for the front passenger side tire, show uneven wear on the inside (not sure if the previous owner ever rotated or changed tires). Should I get new tires first and then replace the bad bearings? Could it be an alignment problem?



I would greatly appreciate your honest advice and help. I am trying to get an idea of what the problem could be before spending any money. God bless.

#2

I can’t see, hear or feel the car, but my guess would be a tyre or two. There is an easy test. Have the tyres rotated, front to back (not side to side) and see if it goes away or changes. You might even be able to look at the tread and see the problem.

#3

It sounds like the tires are worn unevenly from lack of proper alignment/rotation. Once the tires develop a wear pattern they will continue to wear in that way even if the alignment is corrected.

Unevenly worn tires (especially when “cupped”) are famous for making lots of noise, and Honda vehicles allow more road and tire noise into the car than some other makes. I know because I, too, drive an Accord.

New tires will probably help. For a while. Once they have worn down about half way they will start getting noisy again. I try to keep the wheels properly aligned and the tires balanced, but I’ve learned to live with tire noise, especially at highway speeds as the tires wear.

Tire brand and tread design has a major impact on the amount of noise. Stay away from any sort of aggressive tread pattern, and compare owner reports at a tire site like TireRack.com for information about which tires are quieter than others.

A mechanic should be able to diagnose bad bearings without guessing. I’m betting on the tires.

#4

I’m betting on tires too. You probably have one or more with a broken belt or one on which the tread is beginning to separate. If you were to jack up the wheels one at a time, and turn each around by hand (or foot) you would probably see a wobble or unevenness in the tread. It doesn’t matter how much tread you have. The bad part is, once a tread starts to separate, there is no way to know when it will let go completely. When it does, it can cause a loss of control and severely damage the fender or rear quarter it’s under. I’ve seen cars “totalled” by insurance companies for this sort of damage. In severe cases, it will wipe out everything under there.

#5

Thanks a lot! I just had the four tires replaced and the car aligned. Wow what a relief! You were right. Part of the problem was the “aggressive” tread design on tires and lack of alignment. I talked to an honest and knowledgeable mechanic specialized in Honda service. He instructed me a little bit and explained me the differences between a bad wheel bearing sound vs. tire sound. It’s back to a quite ride again.

Thnx!