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Hyundai Santa Fe ('05) mystery noise

My wife’s 05 Hyundai Santa Fe (FWD, 6cyl version) started doing a soft “flump” noise that increases in speed as the car moves faster (the closest I could describe it as is an extremely muted version of the sound produced by passing over a pavement seam on a concrete roadbed). The noise gets louder if the steering wheel is turned in one direction (softer if in the other). I suspect this difference is acoustic, and therefore coming from the angle of the wheels when they’re pointing left/right/straight ahead.

This started in the last day or two, and she only mentioned it today. I took the car for a spin to try and determine what it might be. My gut says it is a CV boot, but I’m not sure; nor am I an expert.

Whether it is a CV problem or not:

Its probably a wheel bearing. The bad bearing will be on the opposite side of the direction you turn when it gets louder. (I.e. louder when turning left is likely the right/passenger side bearing).

You need to get it in right away. A bad wheel bearing is very bad so don’t put it off.

Thanks for the response!

I get what you’re saying. The noise seems to be coming from the driver side wheel, and is louder when turning to the right. Based on what you said, that would therefore fit.

Okay, so the next question is: Assuming that it is the bearing, would this be covered by Hyundai’s 10/100K powertrain warranty, or is it a “wear and tear” item? I know a torn CV boot would not be. If it isn’t, how much could the repair cost, because I cannot do this repair myself. Also, how long would the car be in the shop for?

I’d call Hyundai to ask about it but a wheel bearing is a wear & tear suspension component rather than a drivetrain component so I doubt it would be covered.

The replacement would be at most a couple of hours - should be less. It also appears that the front bearing-only can be replaced (as opposed to the entire hub assembly) so the parts costs shouldn’t be out of control. I’d figure on a few hundred bucks but I’m just guessing. If you really want to know just make a couple of phone calls. Most places use standard industry guides for job estimates so most any shop should be able to give you a ballpark if you just ask. Of course, that’s assuming it is a wheel bearing and that there isn’t anything else that will get turned up in doing the work.

These bearings are made at the same time, installed at the same time and then go through everything together. Don’t be surprised if the other side is ready to go even if it hasn’t shown any signs yet.

RESOLVED: Car went to the dealer today. Turns out the lug nuts on the driver side front wheel were loose. Talk about a “holy smokes!” problem… As I said, I’m not an automotive expert, but I never thought to check those. Perhaps part of the reason for this being that my wife had new tires put on in early January.

You’d think that the tire place would do their job properly! However that’s another story entrirely.