Tire noise--belt?

I read here that some tire noise can be caused by bad belts. How do you know if the tire belt is bad? My tires get loud between 20 and 40 mph. Mechanic says the tires are OK but to replace them to get rid of the noise. I am worried about safety. Comments?

How old are the tires? How many miles on them?

Some tires become VERY noisy as they wear, especially if they are wearing unevenly.

What sort of noise do the tires make?

I’m not sure how old the tires are…maybe a few years. I should have kept track of the miles but I didn’t…could probably go to my glove compartment and check the receipt. The noise is a roaring sound, not a whining sound. I thought it was a transmission issue but the mechanic said no, just that the tires have some funky wear but the tread is ok.

What type of tires are on your Protege? Can you give us the brand and size?

If you switch the tires front to rear, does it help? Which tires have the “funky wear.”

“Funky wear” indicates an alignment problem. Once an abnormal wear pattern develops it can’t be corrected. You can choose to live with the noise or replace the tires.

Bad tire belts usually result in a thumping sound. A general roar is usually just worn tire noise.

I have two Sumitomo tires and two Ziex tires. The tires were rotated. Did not help. Mechanic said funky wear was due to car sitting a lot (it’s driven only a couple times a week, and/or on long trips at holidays). Alignment was done recently so I don’t think it’s that. The info on the bad tire belt is helpful. Why would the roar vary according to speed? e.g. tires are ok under 20 mph, very loud 20-40mph, then quieter but still noisy at 50mph.

Unfortunately, this car has apparently suffered from lax maintenance.

The fact that the front and rear tires are of two different brands is evidence that the tires were not rotated on a regular and consistent basis. Yes, they may have been rotated, but if they were consistently rotated every…let’s say…5k or 7.5k miles, the wear patterns would be consistent enough for you to replace all 4 tires at the same time, rather than having to replace 2 at a time.

And, while you may indeed have recently had an alignment done on the car, that does nothing to reverse wear patterns that were put on the tires by the previously bad alignment.

“Sitting a lot” does not have any impact on tire wear–unless you fail to regularly check and correct the pressure in the tires. I have found that most folks who allow their car to sit for long periods of time do not monitor and correct low tire pressure. Tires that are underinflated will wear much faster than tires that are properly inflated.

As was already stated by mcparadise, the noise is almost surely from tread wear. Many tires become much more noisy after some tread wear, and when “funky tread wear” is thrown into the mix, noise problems are exacerbated.

My suggestion is as follows:
Either put up with the noise for the time being, or bite the bullet and buy a set of four new tires now. If you want to defer tire purchase for the time being, at least you should make sure to buy four tires when you do decide to purchase tires.

Then, be careful to keep good records of all maintenance. Your own statement, “I should have kept track of the miles but I didn’t…could probably go to my glove compartment and check the receipt” is evidence that you don’t keep good records of maintenance.

I constructed a small chart, so that I can see at a glance what maintenance procedures have been done, when they were done, and at what mileage they were done. Even though I have all of my maintenance receipts in a file folder, the presence of my own chart means that I don’t have to go through copious pieces of paper in order to try to make sense of what I need to do for the next maintenance.

Check your tire pressure every couple of weeks, and correct as necessary in order to maintain at least the same pressure listed on the label on the driver’s door jamb.
Have your new tires rotated on a regular and consistent basis (every 5k or every 7.5k miles).
Do a visual check of the tire treads periodically, and have alignment done at the first sign of uneven tire wear.

Thanks for this info. I do tend to neglect tire pressure issues, except for when getting oil changed. Maintenance on mechanical issues has been regular: I have all maintenance receipts for the 11 years I’ve had the car. Maintenance has been regular, but have not kept a chart…that’s a good idea.

Reason for two different brands of tires: two winters ago, an unidentified object cut one of my front tires. Had to replace two rather than one for balance’ sake.

First, the problem you are describing is rarely caused by bad belts. It’s usually caused by irregular wear - which is caused by misalignment - and aggravated by insufficient inflation pressure and insufficient rotation practices.

Second, while you may have had an alignment done, you didn’t fix the result - irregular wear on the tires.

Third, rotating tires should have changed the noise - and since it didn’t, it’s probably not the tires.