Wobbly noise after tire rotation

Hi! I just took my 2001 Honda Accord in for an oil change and tire rotation yesterday. When I left the shop, I noticed a wobbly noise coming from the front when I was driving on the highway (40 MPH+). There is no vibration in the steering wheel, but the sound is pretty noticeable. It wasn’t there when I got to the shop. I have my tires rotated every 3,000-5,000 miles. Is this simply from uneven tire wear?

Yes, it could be from uneven tire wear, or it could indicate a defective tire, but your immediate concern should be that this could indicate loose lug nuts. If the technician was distracted during the process, it is possible that he might have failed to fully tighten the nuts on at least one wheel.

I strongly suggest that you get out your lug wrench and check/tighten the lug nuts on all 4 wheels before you drive again.

+1 for @VDCdriver…especially if this was a chain shop.

If the lug nuts are loose (which is very likely), then the lug nuts and studs might now have damaged threads, so they should be inspected and replaced if necessary.

It would be advisable to take the above advice. And the sooner the better.


If you wait too long, the lug nut holes in the rim will be hogged out.

Provided the lug nuts are ok as mentioned above, you always have the option to put the tires back on the way they were and see if the noise goes away. If it does, at least you know it has something to do with the the tires and unlikely to be a problem w/the car. That’s something at least. And easy to do.

Thanks for the advice - I checked the lugs and they are fine. I might try to put the tires back to where they were, as GeorgeSanJose suggested and see if that makes a difference. Since the noise didn’t start until after the rotation, which was an X rotation, signs seem to point to a tire issue.

X tire rotation? I assume this involves just the 4 tires being used, not the spare, and you switch the right front w/the left rear, etc. That’s an unusual rotation pattern for modern radial tires, esp for front wheel drive cars. If the noise goes away w/the tires returned to their original positions, but you still want to do a rotation, you might try a version where you just switch the fronts and rears, but keep the rights on the right and the left on the left. This keeps the tires turning the same direction. My tire seller told me to do rotations only that way for my Michellins on my Corolla, as reversing the direction of rotation can cause problems.

I only do the front to back too. I know people say to do front to back and rr to lf and lr to rf but I don’t like reversing the rotation. If they wear a little faster, that’s ok with me.

I agree with @Bing and if there is a problem, it could very well be reversing the rotation. Depending on your driving habits and alignment, I would always recommend front to back. Only under ideal conditions does cross rotating seem to make sense to me. Even though it proved unnecessary, the lug nut check was an absolute good first suggestion or safety ! Examine the tire(s) in question closely and look for feathering in one direction…regardless, I would rotate back to check. Imho, cross rotating is a good theoretical way to rotate, but in practice can cause more problems then it solves.

The best case scenario would be that a back to front vs. X rotation is the problem. My tires (2003 Protege5) have to go back to front only, from what I’ve been told.

If not the tires, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board. It’s not unheard of for another problem to crop up coincidentally when you’re having something else done.

Alloy or steel wheels?
I’ve seen plastic wheel covers make strange sounds if the claws that hold them on get corroded.