Tires Making Humming Noise (Causes and Solutions)

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Imagine this. You’re out for a drive in the countryside or on the highway and you notice an abnormal noise coming from your car that most likely shouldn’t be there. If you’ve been in such a situation, then this noise is very likely to be the humming noise.

tires and noise

It is not a big issue and you can resolve it by yourself, but if left unconsidered, it can result in severe consequences. There may be several causes of this noise but solutions are also available alongside.

What is Humming Noise?

Humming noise is the unusual and annoying sound produced by any rotating object if not spinning properly. However, the term humming noise is most commonly associated with tires.

It may be due to their misalignment, misproportion, or usually due to uneven wear of most tires.

Failing wheel bearings can also result in a humming noise. However, to figure out why your car is specifically making this noise, continue reading.

Causes of Humming Noise

There may be several causes of humming noise. Let us highlight them separately:

Uneven Treadwear

Uneven treadwear is one of the main reasons for humming noise.

The tire is the only part of your vehicle which makes direct contact with the road. If your tire tread experiences uneven wear, then the tread contact with the road will not be uniform.

This not only results in a bumpy ride, but also creates a humming noise which is one of the leading causes of an uncomfortable ride.

The causes of uneven tread wear are not one, however, its dependency is mainly on tread compound and tread design.

Moreover, humming noise due to uneven tread wear is more common in those tires which have completed at least half of their mileage span.

So, one of the reasons behind your tires wearing out could be because they’re simply of age, and you might need to get them replaced.

Failing Wheel Bearings

The issue of faulty wheel bearings is not only found in old outlived tires, but brand-new tires can also fall prey to it.

The connection between the axle and wheel is made by wheel bearings which are a set of small spherical steel balls fitted into precise metal rings called ball bearings.

These ball bearings are functional for the smooth rotation of the wheel, eliminating much of the friction and maintaining comfort.

Faulty wheel bearings have some internal defects.

Maybe the small steel balls are not properly rounded or they are jammed to slide smoothly over one another. There may also be a  problem in their connection point.

In these cases, you will experience a humming noise and after a slight observation of these sounds, you will come to know that the spherical balls are not rolling properly over each other.

Tire Alignment Issue

Perfect alignment ensures that all the tires of your vehicle are perfectly oriented with each other.

If this balance is disturbed, a lot of problems can arise, a rhythmic humming noise being the first of many.

Even if the tires are slightly misaligned, you are likely to notice a hum.

The humming noise increases with the deviation of tires from their perfectly aligned position.

The best way to check for tire alignment is to set your hands free for a while during driving.

If your vehicle deviates from the lane then your tires need to be aligned.

However, this method is risky and should be avoided. Instead, you should head to a service technician as soon as possible to get ahead of the problem, professionally and safely.

Tire Balancing Issue

Wheel balancing refers to the aspect of how properly the weight is distributed across the tires of your vehicle.

If this weight is not in a proper balance, then it could lead to the humming noise.

The uneven weight distribution not only results in improper rotation of the tires but also causes uneven tread wear which itself is a big cause of humming noise.

Unbalanced wheels will not rotate properly and wobble at high speeds, subsequently resulting in a humming noise.

However, fixing this issue is not a big deal.

Your best bet is to head over to the mechanic and get your tires balanced.

The tires are placed onto a wheel balancing machine and it automatically tells which part of your tire needs to be weighted to balance it with others.

Lack of Tire Rotation

Tire rotation means changing the position of the tires periodically.

The front tire/tires are set free to move inside out while taking turns, so they are more exposed to uneven wear and produce a humming noise.

Hence, front tires should be shifted at the rear axles periodically so that each tire experiences equal treadwear and the chances of the humming noise can be minimized.

Solutions for Humming Noise

After troubleshooting the issue, the next step is to figure out a suitable solution.

There are several ways to do that. Let us discuss them separately:

Contact the Mechanic or Dealership who sold you the Tires

Brand new tires making a humming noise is probably due to the manufacturer’s default.

If you are sure that there is some default in the composition of the tire, then contact the mechanic or dealer who sold you those tires.

Most probably the issue will be resolved as the majority of the tires are provided with some sort of warranty.

The faulty tires should be either replaced or the mechanic will resolve the issue causing the humming noise.

Take Care of the Health of Your Tires

You should keep an eye on the health of your tires.

Inspecting the depth and uniformity of your tire tread will give you a fresh idea about the condition of your tires.

If you observe any cracks, uneven wear, or bubbling, then your tire is at the risk of producing a humming noise in the coming future.

Rotate Your Tires Periodically

Tire rotation is a healthy idea for preventing humming noise.

As mentioned earlier, the front tires are more exposed to uneven wear, so they should be shifted to the rear axles at regular intervals. In this way, all the tires of your vehicle will experience equal treadwear and the chances of the humming noise would be reduced.

In four-wheelers, the tire rotation should be done in a specific manner.

Both rear tires should be shifted on the front axles of same side, whereas both front tires should be shifted on the rear axles in a cross manner (front right wheel on rear left axle and front left wheel on the rear right axle).

Tire rotation according to this method will promote even treadwear of each tire as compared to others and reduce the humming noise up to the minimum.

Change  Faulty Wheel Bearings

Faulty wheel bearings should be changed immediately if they are creating a hum.

However, wheel bearings usually do not fail out gradually and can go hundreds of miles before they are necessarily needed to be replaced.

But if you notice even a slight hum due to the failing wheel bearings, then it is beneficial to replace them as early as possible.

Replace the Outlived Tires

The Outlived tires should be replaced in time as it is quite unsafe and uncomfortable to keep them running.

Outlived tires not only become a significant cause of humming noise, but also compromise with the comfort of their consumers.

Different tires offer different mileage warranties, so you should keep a check on whether your tires have completed their life or not.

Final thoughts

A rhythmic hum arising from your tires is not something unheard of.

People often complain about how this sound creates discomfort and compromises on a smooth ride, but not always understand the reasons behind it, or how to prevent it from happening all in all.

There is an array of causes behind this hum, from misaligned tires and  uneven tread wear, to failed wheel bearings and unbalanced weight on the tires, just to name a few.

However, with this article, you must have clearly understood to which one is the reason behind yours.