Sounds like a wheel bearing going bad

2005 Dodge neon. When I turn to the right, or it could be the left, I forget right now, it makes a noise like when you drive to far off your lane from the center or the shoulder hitting those groves in the road. It also bounces when going around 60+ on bad bumpy roads, and from the right back tire. The noise seems to come from that tire also.

I assume its a wheel bearing like I’ve changed before. But when I lift up the car and try to move the tire up and down side to side it has no play as I would expect with a bad wheel bearing. Is it just in the beginning stage and has not gotten to the point of having play or is it something else? Thank you.

CV joint may be going bad.

Edit: Oops, my bad as @Tester pointed out… the noise is at the rear, missed that.

Check for a bad tire and a bad strut on the rear. The bouncing indicates a bad strut.

You should feel roughness when you spin the wheel by hand if it makes such a bad noise, and it indeed is the bearing. Bad news is that with dodge, anything can - and will - go wrong.
I knew a guy (former service manager at a dodge stealership!) who bought a neon. Next day, upper ball joint fell out. “It’s a nice little car” he said a few days later…

Neons do not have upper ball joints, only a lower.

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A CV-joint on the back of a Neon?


You are right - my bad. Does it mean that losing a LOWER ball joint on a brand new vehicle is something to write home about?

A choppy, rough pattern on the edges of the tires might cause this when turning.
The bouncing in the back could be from a bad strut.

Yes, that would be a bad day.

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I saw a sebring with a little over 600 miles on the odometer that had lost its SECOND ball joint.
No kidding!

I wouldn’t drive next to this thing even if its wheel is not about to fall off…

When I spin the tire it does not make any noise. But I am not able to spin it at a riding speed.

I will check the strut. Thanks.

It is definitely not that bad.

At about 150k I replaced a wheel bearing tha I thought ha a little hum to it. Then I just replaced both front bearings. The reduction in road noise was noticeable. Guess I’m just saying sometimes hard to tell unless they are really bad.

Some of the pro-mechanics here who deal with wheel bearing problems every week say many times the only symptom they are able to observe at the shop is race-material degradation they see only after removing the wheel bearing from the hub. No noises when hand spinning the wheel, no observable play. Noises heard when test-driving & turning is what determines the shop’s diagnosis.

I’m not sure what you mean. Wheel bearing noises, at the point the problem starts to become severe, tend to make a growling sound, louder the faster you go. Turning can cause the noise also. If you hear the noise when turning left, right side bearing is the suspect. Tire problems, tread pattern can cause noises too. Good idea to swap tires from side to side (same axle ) to eliminate tire as possible cause before replacing bearing. I had a tire tread pattern problem mimicking a faulty rear wheel bearing on my Corolla one time.

The type of non-drive wheel bearings my 50 year old truck uses, conical roller bearings, removable, they tend to make scraping noises if lube starts to go dry, when hand turning the jacked wheel.

I have heard Neons not being the most reliable, but mine has been very. I got it 6-7 years ago with 130,000, now has 209,000. And its in very good shape, almost no rust and besides cam and crank sensors, minor, I’ve had no problems. It gets parked in winter.

How do you test a strut? Just by pushing on the back corner of the car and see if both sides act the same? Looking at it physically it seemed to have no noticeable problems.

That’s about the best you can do. After pushing the corner down, ideally corner will rise to the prior level and not bounce around much if at all. If it fails that test it’s definitely bad. But it can easily seem to pass that test and still needs to be replaced. Struts degrade very slowly so driver doesn’t notice the performance problem until new ones are installed, then it seems like driving a new car. The shocks on my truck definitely need replacement based on ride quality, but bounce test says they remain good.

Turns out it is the drivers side wheel bearing slowly going bad. Just removed it today. I’ve driven it very little over the last month. Easiest wheel bearing change there is. Case closed.


Good for you for getting to the bottom of the problem. New wheel bearing, good to go!

In this case did the wheel bearing show any signs of problems other than the noise when driving? No unusual play when pushing tire in & out or twisting force? No unusual sounds when hand turning wheel when tire lifted above ground? If so, that seems pretty consistent with what many of the pro’s here seem to say w/newer cars.