CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

My clunking and grinding front tire

I have a 2006 Chevy 1500 Silverado. The driver side front tire is making a grinding and clunking noise. It started yesterday afternoon and has gotten worse. When making a left turn there is a grinding/rubbing noise. When I go over a bump,rough gravel, or pot hole a horrible clunking comes from this tire. I haven’t taken to a repair shop yet. HELP!

Have it TOWED to a repair shop. Until you know what’s causing this, consider it unsafe to drive. You could easily have a ball joint in the process of coming apart.

It could even be a loose wheel. I’d suggest to a shop pronto instead of asking us.

Sounds like a wheel bearing coming apart or the brakes have worn to the point of complete failure…

I agree with the above.  You don't want to drive it to the shop, unless the shop is next door.

I agree strongly with above opinions. The truck could become dangerous to yourself and others if you continue to drive it. The hub bearing is suspect.

Most likely a bad hub bearing or possibly loose lug nuts. As others have said, DO NOT DRIVE IT!!! Have it TOWED to a repair shop for evaluation. As you describe it, that wheel could come off any minute, and you do not want that happening at any speed. It could cause an accident and hurt or kill you or someone else. I have seen it happen. It’s not worth trying to save some money on a tow bill to drive an unsafe vehicle.

If you have AAA or other towing insurance, call for a tow to be safest. If you don’t have towing coverage and must drive the truck to a shop. Before driving it, jack up the offending wheel and make sure the lug nuts are secured properly.

If the wheel is mounted securely you should be OK driving to a shop as long as you go slow and the shop isn’t far away. Since this noise is getting worse rapidly it is less likely a brake problem and more likely a bad bearing or something that could cause the entire wheel to come off. I would not take the truck above 35 mph and do not take it on a major interstate highway until you know what you are dealing with here.

Yeah, like the others have said, get it to the shop pronto. From what you describe the problem lies in the wheel/axle/bearing and hub/brakes. Tow it there, it’s not worth saving an $80 tow bill and take a chance of doing further damage or being stuck on the road or worse.

If this started all at once, noticed one day straight away, loud and clear, but never before, rather than gradually increasing noise over the course of a few months, there’s a possiblity that there’s simply a rock stuck in the wheel or brakes somewhere. Ask your mechanic to remove the wheel and look around for a out of place rock.

Check for loose lug nuts, then stand outside the truck with the engine running, reach through the window and turn the steering wheel back and forth while watching the tire. If the tire seems to be responding to your movements without any slack or delays, then I believe you can safely drive it to a shop at low speeds. If it starts shaking, then stop immediately and call a tow truck.

BTW, is this a 4wd or a RWD truck? If 4wd (AWD), you might have a broken axle or CV joint. You would need to check this before driving.