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What's That Sound? Rear Wheels '10 Hyundai Accent

Would massively appreciate any insights on a difficult to diagnose sound. Hyundai Accent 2010, 96,000 miles. Struts and shocks one year old. I’ve never been one to humanize cars, but I swear this thing hates me. Constant problems from mile one. I got a toyota and now I’m trying to sell the hyundai…pulled it from storage and the brakes had seized. Ok, my fault. Replaced the rear brake pads and cleaned everything up, brakes well now. But a wheel felt loose on the highway afterward. Pulled over, tightened it up real well, checked to make sure the wheel was seated properly, etc. Ok. Should be good to go, right?

I now I have a popping sound coming from the rear wheels, both sides, like the sound you get driving over a gravel road. It’s irregular–worse when driving over uneven surfaces or making a tight turn in either direction, but not rhythmic with each rotation the way a spindle or cv joint problem sounds. I don’t see any grease or damage to the suspension. I can get a few pops if I press on the tires firmly from the side. When I went to pull the wheels, the tightening I’d done on those nuts seemed to have reversed itself–several came off too easily on both wheels, almost as if the wheel has a wobble and is loosening the nuts over time.

Are wheel bearings a possibility? I know what the telltale rumble sounds like, but I’ve heard it can sometimes sound like this. It’s not consistent with every rotation. If I pull the wheel and spin the hub with the ebrake off, I get a bit of grab at one spot on each rotation. The drum cover is also pretty rusty/gnarly, so I’m wondering if perhaps that might be preventing the wheel from sitting tightly enough, thus the sound?

I had a lighter version of this from the rear wheel for years–three mechanics checked and couldn’t find the problem. I’m so done with this car–I just want to get it running well and fix all major issues so I can ethically sell it.

At this point, I’m thinking replace the drums and hub/bearing assembly. It’ll run me about $100 in parts and seems like the easiest fix. If I’m missing something, I’d love to know.


The wheel lug nut involvement seems like a major clue. Remove the wheel and make sure the back side of the wheel is clean and not corroded. Then do the same for where the back side of the wheel mates up with the hub. You may need to use a wire brush tool to get those mating surfaces all nice and clean and smooth again. When you reinstall the wheel, tighten the lug nuts in rounds. If you want to end up with 90 foot pounds, tighten them all to 30 (in the correct order), then to 60, then finally to 90. I’d also clip a pencil to a chair or step ladder or something, so you can place the tip of the pencil near the rim. Just a mm away. Then hand rotate the wheel to see if that space stays the same all 360 degrees.

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Thanks George, will give the pencil trick a try. The wheel is in good shape, front and back. I usually tighten in rounds, beginning with opposite nuts, so I don’t think that’s a factor. Where the wheel mates with the hub might be a different story! Lots of corrosion on the hub. I wire brushed when I did the brakes, but I’m going to go over it more thoroughly and replace the drum cover to see if that helps. Will post back with results once the part is in!

Please don’t take this as an insult. I have no idea of your knowledge about cars.

I don’t know what type of wheels you have on that car, but could you have them on backwards. This wouldnt allow the chamfered end of the nut to seat and center the stud into the wheel.
Or you could be putting the nuts on backward.



Hi Yosemite, lol. I don’t take it as an insult, but I am quite sure they’re not on backwards. They are alloy wheels and have a distinctly different surface facing outward than inward. I am by no means a “car guy,” but I’m good at troubleshooting and I’m 100% on the wheel direction.

You did mention that it seemed as if the lug nuts loosened after a drive.

First, I would check the bearings to be sure that they sound and feel smooth.
Then I would wonder if the wheels were not fitting onto the portion of the hub that remains after you put on the drums.
Sometimes this area…or the mating surface on the inside of the wheel is too rusted or corroded that they cannot seat properly. Come to mention it…if the drums are not seated properly, as you drive they may allow that extra play and make the lug nuts appear that they came loose.

Another thought; If you have alloy wheels, make sure that the stud holes are not worn oblong. This would hamper tightening too.

Don’t you have disc brakes on the rear???



Staying on this theme, I wonder if the OP is using lug nuts that are appropriate for those alloy wheels, or if–perhaps–he is using the original lug nuts for the OEM steel wheels. Trust me…there can be a significant difference…


Good point @VDCdriver … lug nuts coming loose isn’t a very common problem report here, and the lug nut design does have to match up with the wheel or all sorts of problems will ensue. Definitely worth a double-check.

No disc brakes in rear, only front. The wheels are only about a year old and they don’t show any signs of wear. The lug nuts are actually a distinctive possibility–I have two sets, I know they all match but it’s possible I’ve confused them, and that combined with corrosion on the drum might be enough to do it. Will check that first thing!

Ok–changed the lug nuts to the set that matches the wheels, scrubbed out the drums with a wire brush, carefully checked the torque on the wheels and made sure the wheels are properly perpendicular to the ground…and no joy. The right side bearing is very stiff, and the left side catches once per rotation–I think the bearings are shot and the drums need replacement, so I’m going to do that tomorrow. It might be just one or the other, but the parts aren’t expensive, so I’d rather just do both and be done with it.

Make sure it isn’t just the rear brakes are adjusted a little too tight. That can cause those same symptoms when hand spinning drummed wheels. On my drum brakes I have to use a bent screwdriver as a lever to loosen a little toothed wheel. It’s accessed through a small hole on the back side of the hub. That retracts the brake shoes fully.

A bad bearing, if it shows any symptoms at all when hand spinning, it is usually some combination of excessive play and a grinding noise.

I played with the tensioner on the brake springs on install, and checked it again today–it looks good, drum separates easily but not too easily. Such a frustrating problem. At this point I’m just eliminating any possibilities at the wheel itself before showering a mechanic in cash to look at suspension parts. I just don’t want to pay for substantial work on a car that’s worth less than $4k and that I don’t plan on owning in a month. The drum is very corroded so I’m still somewhat hopeful that replacing it will have an effect–I can easily imagine that the popping sound is produced by a badly mated drum.

Raise the back wheels,place your hand at the 6 and 12 O clock position and try to move the wheel in and out.Any movement there are due to bad wheel bearings.If no movement, try to spin the wheel by hand and listen to grinding noise. You need to replace those ASAP

Yep, I’m not driving it–replacing the whole hub assembly on both rear wheels as soon as it stops raining every fifteen minutes!

I tought Hyundai had improved over the years or do they still make crappy cars. I owned the infamous Pony back in the 80’…a big mistake! That car blew up in my driveway due to an electrical fire.I only drive Toyota since.

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Hyundai in on par with every other Asian and US car maker, If I remember correctly Hyundai was the first automaker that offered a 100K miles warranty. They wouldn’t have done that if they thought their cars wouldn’t last that long.

I agree that Hyundai has come a long way since the Pony that rascal mentioned

That said, I consider them not quite on par with Toyota and Honda. They’re almost there, though

One thing they definitely haven’t caught up with is residual value. Honda and Toyota still rule, no doubt about it. It’ll be a while before Hyundai has caught up in that regard. It’s important for some people.

As for that 100K mile warranty . . . I think it was just as much marketing, as standing behind their product. I suspect a lot of cars were sold BECAUSE of the long warranty, or the way it was marketed. That perceived peace of mind may have been enough to tip the balance in Hyundai’s favor, at least with some buyers. It was a brilliant marketing strategy, and I think it worked. Because Hyundai is no longer some also-ran bit player

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Well, if you consult , Hyundai and Kia’s 100,000K mile warranty is not worth the paper its written on. Customers end up paying for repairs out of there own pocket because they don’t stand behind their products.You are basically on your own after your new car purchase.


I take consumer affairs reviews with a grain of salt. The reviews there are based on personal experience. Like most reviews, they tend to be negative simply because people complain when something goes wrong but normally do not leave positive reviews when all is well. You complain when your cheeseburger is missing the cheese, but never compliment when it does not.

A large number of consumers do not read or even understand their warranties and what is included and what is not. The first thing they do is complain because the warranty does not cover the repair that they perceived should be covered.

My own personal experience with a Hyundai Tuscon is when the GPS and entertainment center stopped working approximately 4500 miles after the warranty expired. My local Hyundai dealer replaced the complete unit at no charge to me, saying it’s close enough to the warranty.

So, every experience is different and like I said, take consumer affairs reports with a grain of salt.

In my experience, the warranty wasn’t worth it. My hyundai is what they call a “Friday afternoon” car–sloppy assembly and quality checks, everything that could go wrong, did. I had 2 bad coil packs in the first year–and while they were willing to service it, they would often say there was no active code and so return the car still in need of repair. The warranty only applies if they’ll admit there’s something wrong with the car. I’ve had sensors malfunction and had to go through 4 check engine lights/partial engine shutdowns to get a repair. The car has never been reliable, and the warranty didn’t help me much with costs–the suspension parts have worn out faster than any other car I’ve ever owned, and I am very kind to my cars and have never had to replace spindles/multiple bearings/early shocks and struts, etc. Hyundai may be better now than in 2010, but I won’t be the one to find out.

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