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"wish wish wish wish wish" said the jetta

I have a 2006 Jetta with 85k miles on it. When I have the clutch in, going around corners to the left, I hear a very swishy sound that sounds like “wish wish wish wish”…It seems to be coming from the front. It can only be heard with the radio off. This started about a month ago. Seems to be getting gradually worse, but not exponentially.

Couple of details:

  1. Recently (3 months ago) started a very break-heavy commute (moved from Boston to LA- had car shipped)
  2. Had the breaks redone about a year (20k) miles ago
  3. Someone misjudged the angle at which they could pull in to a parking space recently and scraped along the back quarter and tire but i’ve had it checked out and have been told that the damage is purely cosmetic
  4. Recently was going over a speed bump (the wider and softer version known as “speed humps” here in the LA area) and thought i heard a sucking-“POP”…I was hoping this meant the sound would go away, but it didn’t.
  5. Most of this car’s life was spent parked on city streets in the South End of Boston. It’s only been since I moved to LA, with garages and parking lots every where that it has started to “age”…(yes, I drive a lot more)

I don’t have a mechanic yet in the area (SF Valley, between Studio City and Woodland Hills) and want to have a good idea of what I’m talking about before I go in to chat.

Thank you!

You could have a bad front wheel bearing on the right side of the car. Passenger side. A mechanic might be able to hear it by lifting the car and spinning the right front wheel. Or something with the brake disc caliber on the passenger side. Good luck.

You could also have a torn or split CV boot, its about the right age, and the sound you are hearing is the beginning stages of CV joint failure. If thats it, it will soon start clicking on corners.

The Dude: It happens when I turn to the left though. The problem would be on the right? Keith, that sounds bad. It’s expensive to fix, yes? The left front tire seems to be a bit low now.

CV joint (axle) is a common problem and generally not unreasonably expensive to repair, though I don’t know about prices on VWs. Figure roughly $300.

Since you have noticed the tire being low, start there - correct that defect first. Fill all your tires to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure (see owners manual) and see if that changes the noise. If the sound doesn’t change with proper pressure, it may be that your low tire has an internal problem with the layers beginning to separate. This could possibly cause the noise you reported. A quality tire store ought to be able to judge that. Before you buy a new tire, it might be useful to swap the tire to another corner, or temporarily replace that wheel with the spare, to see if the noise disappears. If it does NOT disappear with a different wheel/tire, then it’s not the tire.

You may also have a brake caliper dragging a bit, creating a scuffing sound. If that’s it, it won’t be expensive to free up the caliper.

Check the “mechanics files” at the top of this page to get user feedback on shops in your area.

Great! Thank you @WesternRoadtripper! So very helpful–all of you have been. I’m taking it in tomorrow, so I’ll let you know what happens.

@WesternRoadtripper, @The Dude, @keith–I’m pleased to announce that @The Dude wins!! And, I understand now why you say the right side…it’s like where you lean when riding a bike. Got it.

Thank you all for you help!