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Tire Bearing Sound after Putting Winter Tires On

Current Situation: I got my winter tires put on last week. I use the same rims for both sets of tires.

Problem: Driving out of the repair shop I noticed a sound coming from the front right of my vehicle which wasn’t there before. I kept it off the road and made an appointment. They saw it today and said the right front wheel bearing is shot.

History: I got both axles replaced last year due to super worn out CV boots.

Possible complications: The first shop I went to (Auto Express in Amherst MA) did a crap job, and the clip holding the axles in place came off while driving. I didn’t trust them at this point, so I had it towed to XYZ to get it put back on. No problems since.

Question: How likely is it that the mechanic at XYZ did something to cause the bearing to wear out suddenly? The noise started immediately after the tire change and was clear and noticeable. It was not there before.

Car: Toyota Camry with 147k miles on it.

Any input would be greatly suggested! If you do comment, I would greatly appreciate if you let me know what your experience is, so I have context to take your answer in.

It’s terribly unlikely that a shop could do anything while changing your tires that would affect your wheel bearings. The bearing is encased in the front wheel hub and the tire is simply removed from and replaced onto the hub. There’s not much you can do to the bearing this way.

It is more likely that your car has 147K on it and it’s time for new bearings. They are wear and tear items. It is also the case that people often first notice bearing noise after changing up something about tires, because the tread patterns behave differently. In this case you went to winter tires that have a more aggressive tread than typical all seasons or summer tires.

If you want to pay for advice then I’ll be happy to forward you a resume. Other than that there is a thread here where people talk all about themselves and their relationships with cars. Feel free to peruse it.


I’d say none of those shops are to blame for the bearing

At 147K, your vehicle is at the point where things will start to degrade and fail

A word of advice: do both sides. The other side has experienced the same conditions and may not be far behind. You’ll have the peace of mind knowing that both bearings are good to go for several more years

Another bit of advice: use the highest quality bearings you can afford. Considering the labor involved to replace them, you don’t want to install some cheap store brand or Chinese part. I believe Koyo may have made the bearings for Toyota

Agree w/others, changing tires or axel shafts, neither is likely to affect a wheel bearing. New tires could change how well the sound from the tire area is heard probably. I suspect the wheel bearing was already on the fritz, and changing the tire somehow made the sound more apparent. As mentioned above, both left and right side bearings should be replaced at this point. It’s not a big deal, bearings always will wear out eventually, and they design the car so they can be easily readily replaced.

Potholes are your most likely culprit. 147,000 miles of driving on New England roads. They finally took a toll on my front bearings in the early months of this year.

Are these brand new winter tires? Usually winter tires make more noise than all season tires, but a high quality winter tire may make less noise than a worn out, cheap, noisy old AS tire. If the old tires were very noisy, but all making the same amount of noise, you might not notice a bad bearing, but as soon as you put on quieter tires, it becomes very apparent.

If these are old winter tires, it might be the tire and not the bearing.