Mercury Sable

I have a 1999 Mercury Sable. For sometime I have been hearing a roar under the front of the car, as if there were part of the cowling dragging against the tires. You will only hear it when you reach 20 mph or so, and even if you put it in N, allowing it to coast. As speed increases, so does the noise. The roar has steadily gotten worse over the past several months.

Check the front wheel bearings.

It isn’t the wheel bearings. This is a noise that sounds like something dragging against the tires, and does not start until you get the car up to twenty mph. It isn’t a squeal or a screech, such as one would hear from a wheel bearings. If you stand on the curb while the car comes by, you do not hear the noise. Could this be the cv joint, even though when the speed of 30 is reached you can still hear it when you put the car in neutral?

dave_x again
I have the car up on jacks and can hear the noise sounding like it is from the center, and up under the front of the car. I am asking this question, because I am unfamiliar the mechanics of front wheel drives, and I want to be a little more sure of what I am looking for before I start unbuckling stuff.

CV joints usually make a clicking noise when they start going bad. If the boots that cover the CV joints are not torn the joints are probably OK. If the boots are torn you need new CV joints, but I don’t think that’s what’s making the noise you describe.

Do I have this right: you can hear the noise when driving the car, but a person standing outside the car would not be able to hear the noise if the car drove past at 20 mph or more?

these cars have had transmission issues before. could be the differential in the transmission

Yes. I have the car on jacks, and you can plainly hear the noise from under the car when the speedometer reaches 25.