Tire that goes thwat-thwat-thwat

1995 Honda - tires are not new, but not the originals. When I get to about 35 mph a thwat-thwat-thwat noise starts and it gets worse until about 50-55 mph at which time I’m assuming that the thwat-thwat-thwats are coming so close together I can’t hear them individually. I’ve been told the tires are in good shape … any ideas? Thanks so much!

Try having the tires checked on a “road force balancing” machine. That spins the tires while applying simulated road forces via a spinning drum pressed againat the tread. Taht’ll pick up internal defects and damages that a normal balancing machine will not.

Not all shops have these machines. You’ll need to ask.

Since the noise waits until 35mph , I wonder if it’s something else near the tire such as a loose splash shield in or around the fender area ? Hmmm…if road force balancing comes up empty check for loosness in areas affected by air flow…this from experience…kg

Can you tell if it is coming from the front or rear tires? I’d try rotating front to back and see if you can eliminate or narrow down the bad tire. Could be internal seperation. Was one of them driven on while flat recently? It could be just a manufacturing defect as well. Does it happen on all roads? Or just one stretch of road? I’d take them to another shop and have them inspect the tires. I’ve worked at too many places and experienced too many “parts changers” who try to pass themselves off as mechanics.

Tell us the brand and model of the tire and whether they are uni-directional or not. There are arrows or some indicator that point to the correct direction of travel on uni-directional tires. On the other hand, I have had tires that demonstrate that kind of noise due to their manufacturing content or road noise, but not to the extent that it bothered me greatly.

I wonder if one or more of a uni-directional tire(s) got mounted or rotated wrong.

I’m back. Was told that it’s not the tire, but it is a wheel bearing. The thwatting is coming from the left rear. No one mentioned that … maybe because I said “tire,” since that’s what it sounded like was involved. Bearing a possibility??? Anyone??? 124,000 on my car, by the way. Thanks. Sue

Yeah, with that mileage a bearing is a possibility. Being a rear bearing and a FWD vehicle, the cost to repair should not be prohibitive.

Question: did they spin the wheel while on the lift to show you?

My significant other took the car to a tire dealership assuming it was the tire. He didn’t know I’d made a post on this site. So … all that was done is that the tire salesman took the car for a little drive and immediately said we didn’t need a new tire, we needed a wheel bearing. You still think we should seek out the road force balancing?

Jack up the suspect wheel and see if there is any “play” or slop by trying to rock the wheel back and forth. There should be almost no play in the way the wheel is mounted. Then spin the tire by hand. It should turn smoothly and silently. Watch the tire tread too as it turns. There should be no lumps or bumps visible on the tire, no distortions in the tread…

When wheel bearings fail, the wheel, which is mounted on the bearings (2) will usually show some play because of the failed bearing. Wheel bearings (rear) cost about $8-$10 each and require 1 hour labor to change…If that turns out to be the problem, you should have the other rear wheel serviced at the same time. (clean and pack the bearings) to prevent their failure…

That’s what I was afraid of. You still may have a defective tire. The saleman’s troubleshooting technique was more oriented toward not fiding fault with their tires than toward finding out what was really wrong. Tire salesmen will, in my experience, NEVER own up to the possibility of a bad tire unless forced to. It’s always blamed on a “bent rim” or a “bad bearing”.

Caddyman posted some good advice here.

I agree.

Asking the tire salesman if his product is defective is about as effective as asking the man in the fish market if the cod is fresh. Neither one is likely to tell the truth.

I would suggest that the car be taken to a competent mechanic, who can determine in a matter of a few minutes whether there is a defective wheel bearing. If the bearing(s) turn out to be okay–as I suspect that they will–then you need to get something to that effect, in writing, from the mechanic, and go back to do battle with the tire dealer.

Thought I should put a wrap on this problem, for those of you wondering what happened. It WAS the wheel bearing! New one put on in less than 30 minutes, and the car no longer goes thwat-thwat-thwat! Thanks to you all for the good ideas and suggestions. I’m happy in Minnesota. Sue

Thanks a million for posting the follow up.
Not only is it nice to hear what happened, but I’ve learned to be more open minded toward tire salesmen!

Happy motoring.