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.