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Humming Sound Cavalier

Hello everyone. I have a quick question that I cannot seem to find the solution to. I inherited a 1997 cavalier. Great little ride. However today on the highway I kept hearing this low droning humming sound coming from the front. When I turned to the right and held it, no noise. Turn to the left, noise or going straight ahead…noise. I was wondering if anyone experienced this before. I should mention the tires are mid aged, not new, not bald. And no suspension work was ever done to it. I have no idea where to even begin diagnosing this thing. Thanks for the help!

A failing wheel bearing will make that kind of noise.

One way to check for a failing wheel bearing is, raise the front tires off the ground. Grab each tire at the 6 & 12 o’clock positions and see if the tire can be wiggled.

If the tire wiggles, that’s an indication of a worn wheel bearing.



Absolutely typical of a worn front wheel bearing. You’ll almost certainly find it’s the right side bearing since it groans when turning left.


thanks!! I will grab a pair asap. might as well do the front axle. thanks again!

The obvious question is do you know how to do this? There are lots of videos on the internet that will show how its done.

Yep I believe so. I replaced them on my Mercury grand marquis a year ago. I have checked out the videos on replacing them for this vehicle and it too seems to be pretty quick and easy. Of course you never know until ya get in there and hope for no nasty surprises.

This indeed could be a front wheel bearing, but suggest not to replace any wheel bearings based only on an internet diagnosis. There’s other things that can cause this too. On an older inherited car owned by an elderly person I’d be suspicious of the tires more than the wheel bearings myself. If you are unsure, ask your local shop to confirm/deny the wheel bearing hypothesis. They do this all the time and have the knack needed for the task, putting the car on the lift testing how it sounds and feels when the wheel is rotated by hand and the amount of axial, side-to-side, and twisting play. For a small fee you’ll know for sure.