Front tires making "womp womp" noise, NOT due to tires

I have a 2007 Honda CRV with about 85k miles. Always had a lot of road noise, but recently my husband and dad road with me and were very concerned about a “womp, womp” noise in the tires. It matches the revolution of the tires, so when I get going fast I don’t hear it. I had new tires put on, rotated front to back, and balanced. My husband thinks it’s worse. Also had new front brakes (steering wheel shook when I braked at high speeds). I’m at a loss and have spent quite a bit already. Could this be wheel bearings? Tie rod ends? It sounds like the tires but it’s definitely not.

Could be inner CV joints.
Rather than guess, take it to a good shop, describe your symptoms, and let them check it out. Having it properly diagnosed up front is almost always cheaper than guessing and telling the shop what to change.

Wheel bearings usually “roar” and get louder the faster you go. does the noise change as you swerve right to left?

no, the volume doesn’t change. It’s just much more noticeable at low speeds. Left to right doesn’t make a difference. I don’t think I hear it in reverse, because I have to be going for more than a few feet. It’s just a steady womp, womp, womp around 15-30mph. It also pulls to the right. Everyone is saying CV joints and bearings sound like marbles. It sounds much deeper and not tinny.

sounds like cv joint or a brake dragging…

Wild guess…have you changed the rear differential fluid lately? If not, do it.

I had new tires put on, rotated front to back, and balanced.

Please explain. Were four new tires mounted or two?
Of course, the noise you describe is classic bad tire belt sound, usually caused by excessive tire age or tire damage.

Were wheel rims/tires checked for lateral and radial run-out ? A bad rim would cause symptoms similar to a bad tire(s). This is not always performed during a tire replacement and balancing.


Driven Straight At Low Speed (parking lot speed), Can You Feel Any Side-To-Side Movement In Either The Steering Wheel Or Front/Rear Of The Car?

4 new tires or only 2 ?? When tires become unevenly worn or have some internal damage like a broken belt, they will make that sound…

I had this problem with a 97 ford explorer 4wd. I got hit in the back, sitting still at a stoplight. immediately after the insurance meeting on the side of the road I drove away and instantly the whoomp whoomp sound was produced from the front tires. The small fender bender knocked it WAY out of alignment, and I ended up buying new inner and outer tie rod ends and got an alignment. I would check your tire wear and see if there is any ‘cupping’. Then take it in to check alignment. If its still aligned, they might not charge you.

ok I think we’re on to something! To clarify, I had 2 new tires put on the back in March and 2 new tires put on again last week (they always put the new ones on back). SO now I have newer tires on front (from March) and brand new tires on back. There WAS cupping on front passenger tire when I got them replaced (that’s why I went- my dad was very concerned). The driver side front didn’t look too bad though. So it sounds like bad alignment?

Have the alignment checked at a good independent shop. Have them also check for any worn suspension parts. Cupping is usually caused by worn a ball joint, wheel bearing, strut, springs, bushings, etc.

ok, so I will have alignment done. Is it recommended to do both front and rear alignment even though I only notice problems with the front? Also, by doing an alignment will they check those other parts mentioned above (wheel bearings, struts, springs, etc)?

I have no doubt they’ll tell me to replace parts when they do the alignment, but I’d like to know how urgent each part is (I’ve spent way more than I wanted to already). What are the MUST do parts and which are the ones I can wait on for a few months?

“Is it recommended to do both front and rear alignment even though I only notice problems with the front?”

On a vehicle–like yours–with independent suspension on all 4 wheels, you need to align all 4.
In fact, it is very possible that a shop might refuse to do solely a front wheel alignment on a car with independent suspension all-around.

Yes, they will check front-end parts, as it is difficult–if not impossible–to do an accurate alignment with badly-worn components present. The absolute MUSTS for replacement if they are badly-worn are the ball joints, tie rod ends, and bearings.

While you could defer strut/spring replacement, you would probably need to re-do the alignment when they are replaced, so if replacement of those parts is necessary, you aren’t saving any money by deferring the job. All you are doing is pushing a bigger repair bill into the future.

Hopefully the struts & springs are okay, and–more than likely–they are.
But…PLEASE don’t continue to drive the car if you are told that you have bad ball joints, tie rod ends, or wheel bearings. Those are major safety issues–assuming that you agree with me that losing a wheel at high speed is a safety issue.

Yeah, have an alignment, check the struts and rotate the newest tires to the front…Test drive. Does that cure it?

It sure sounds like a tire or suspension problem. Since it isn’t the tire, and I presume the wheels have been eliminated as the culprit too, next place to look must be the suspension. As mentioned above, mis-alignment, worn struts, broken springs, all the various bushings, linkages, etc.

One thing, be sure to have the struts and springs carefully checked before doing the alignment, as if you need to replace the struts later, the alignment will have to be done again. You want to fix any strut problems before doing an alignment.

When you go to the shop, avoid telling them what parts needs to be replaced. Just tell them the symptoms, go for a test drive with them so they can see what you mean, let them put it on the lift and diagnose the problem, then discuss with them what they find. From the posts above you should have some good ideas what to discuss about their diagnosis before telling them to go ahead with any repairs. Best of luck.

“Yeah, have an alignment, check the struts and rotate the newest tires to the front.”

Of course, then you won’t know which (the alignment or the rotation) cured it…

thanks everyone for your helpful insight. I will be taking to shop tomorrow and will request that they take a ride with me. Is that normal? I’m used to them just taking it and diagnosing it without driving it. (sounds ridiculous, but that’s been my experience).

One last question-- my thought on this is that whatever is wrong is rubbing the tires, or somehow touching the tires in a way that it sounds like the problem is the tires (even though it’s definitely not). So, what part of the car would come in contact with tires to the extent that it could make them make that noise? Hopefully that’s not too confusing. But I believe I AM hearing the tires do the whomp whomp whomp sound, and I’m just curious about what part of the body of the car could have that effect on the tires.

A plastic fender liner that has come loose could rub a tire. It would be very obvious with an inspection.

Also, brake rotors go around with the tires too and drive shafts.