Mysterious clicking/ tapping sound from tire?

Hi all,

I’m hoping to identify the source of a mysterious clicking noise that appears to be coming from the front right tire of my 2012 Toyota RAV4. It started about 1- 1.5 months ago. It’s a small, tapping sound that increases in speed with tire rotations, and I can only really hear it well with the windows down at lower speeds. It really does sound like there is something embedded in the tire, but I was unable to see any debris upon inspection. Additionally, there has been no remarkable loss in tire pressure.

Any ideas about what could be causing this?

I’ve seen tires with lag bolts stuck in them and not lose air and make that noise.

How did you inspect the tires?



You could rotate the tires and see if the sound moves.


Unfortunately I’ve had that happen more then once in my 50 years of driving. At least that’s repairable.

I would say to look closer for something like a pebble or piece of gravel stuck between the treads.

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Last week I had a screw in a tire, tire had to be at just the correct orientation to see it.

Fancy wheel covers can be noisy, especially spoked ones.

Retread flap? Does anyone drive retreads anymore? I was with friends on US 395 near Death Valley 50 years ago when 1 of the tires began to flap.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions! I ended up taking it to a mechanic- turns out the brakes needed to be redone.

If the car has wheel covers remove the cover on that wheel and see if the noise goes away. It it does then the cover needs to be modded a bit.

If the noise remains then you need to look that tire over carefully for a rock or embedded screw. Other possibilities could be a CV joint beginning to fail or an issue with the brakes although the latter is less likely.

Guess I should have read the entire thread before posting… :wink:

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When I have my routine maintenance done, a visual inspection of the brakes is done. I have yet to get to the point of noisy brakes.

I thought I was the only one who did that.