Automotive

Humming Sound from the Front.

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  • Oct 25th, 2021 10:43 am
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[OP]
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Apr 30, 2004
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Humming Sound from the Front.

I have a '19 Forester with about 63,000km, and a set of all-season tires (have put on about 50,000km on them); just last week I started noticing a faint humming sound when driving at 60km/h and above...This car has been giving all kind of troubles and it's just frustrating; I have done all the regular and preventative maintenance myself but perhaps it's not enough.

From what I have gathered the humming sounds can be caused by the tires, wheel bearing, transmission, or differential if I am not mistaken. No error code displayed at this time in the dashboard.

Any thoughts from you guys about assessing the situation @ home before I make an appointment with a car repair shop? I have seen few videos where the car was jacked up and have one person sitting in the car and pressing on the gas pedal lightly...

I am really hoping this won't be a huge repair...:(

Thanks guys!
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If the humming doesn't get worse when turning its very likely the tires. If the humming gets worse when you turn then its likely the wheel bearings/hub bearing. If you hear the sound only from the front, then rotate the tires to the back and see if the noise follows the tire rotation to the back. That's a cost effective test.
[OP]
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fordmaple wrote: If the humming doesn't get worse when turning its very likely the tires. If the humming gets worse when you turn then its likely the wheel bearings/hub bearing. If you hear the sound only from the front, then rotate the tires to the back and see if the noise follows the tire rotation to the back. That's a cost effective test.

That I can do for sure; I was thinking of putting on my winters but they give a lot of road noise. I shall try the tire rotation method.

As of now I don't think I hear any noise when turning... perhaps it's there but not audible to my ears.

I have tried an unscientific method of running my hands on the surface of the tires trying to feel any difference, but it felt smooth.
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Before doing too much work, increase or reduce your tire pressure temporarily to see if the hum goes away.
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Sep 15, 2020
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DJ Trance AZ wrote: I have a '19 Forester with about 63,000km, and a set of all-season tires (have put on about 50,000km on them); just last week I started noticing a faint humming sound when driving at 60km/h and above...This car has been giving all kind of troubles and it's just frustrating; I have done all the regular and preventative maintenance myself but perhaps it's not enough.

From what I have gathered the humming sounds can be caused by the tires, wheel bearing, transmission, or differential if I am not mistaken. No error code displayed at this time in the dashboard.

Any thoughts from you guys about assessing the situation @ home before I make an appointment with a car repair shop? I have seen few videos where the car was jacked up and have one person sitting in the car and pressing on the gas pedal lightly...

I am really hoping this won't be a huge repair...:(

Thanks guys!
I would first determine if the noise does 2 things: increase in pitch with vehicle speed or increase in pitch with engine RPM

1. Increase in pitch with vehicle speed: could be

a) tires:
- rotate tires to see if the noise moves to a different corner or area of car. Some tires generate more distinct tire noise than others, think about the noise you associate with mud tires on Jeeps and big SUVs. I think worn tires generate more sound than brand new ones.

b) wheel bearing(s):
- do this in a safe place, but swerve left and right on a straight road (alternative find a long sweeping corner and go both ways) with some speed so that you can put pressure on one side. If noise turns louder and softer and repeats as you put pressure on each side, the wheel bearing on the side with the louder sound is shot. Best to pay a mechanic to put car on lift and listen with a stethoscope.

c) exterior trim: especially roof bars, sometimes mirrors or side window rain shades, occasional exterior trim parts like bumpers or fog light housings on cars with previous history
I once rode in a car equipped with factory cross bars and they very slightly hum at highway speeds. Basically anything that creates turbulence and buffeting creates vibration and thus noise. Remove/fix and see if noise goes away.

d) center diff/transfer box, front and/or rear diff (unlikely since your car is new, possibly covered under warranty if this is the case)

2. Increase in pitch with engine rpm: could be
a) anything inside the engine: valvetrain, waterpump etc. (unlikely)

b) anything in engine bay outside of the engine: any pulley(s) or belt(s), loose trim pieces (unlikely)

c) transmission: this might be hard to tell since some parts rotate with engine rpm and some rotate with the axles aka vehicle speed (unlikely)

Best see a mechanic if this is the case

Your car is still quite new, can the dealer help?

Hope this helps.
[OP]
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Much appreciate all the input listed above :)
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Finally able to take my car out of parking; did change out the front and back diff. oil and also did a drain and refill for the CVT fluid; rotated front tires to the back and deflated to about 30 PSI.

Test drove for about an hour; made fairly fast left and right turns and didn't hear humming.

However, the humming sound came back when I drove above 70km/h (going on to highway); I couldn't hear any humming at highway speeds (tarmac surface). Then drove on parts of the highway with concrete surface and couldn't hear the humming either. My windows were closed with HVAC and radio off.

I haven't put on the winters yet.

Am I fairly safe to speculate it's the tires?
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I've had something in the past like this. Turned out to be wheel bearings.
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Had this issue too and thought it was my wheel bearings. Rotated my tires(put fronts to rear) and the sound also shifted from the front to rear. Turned out it was my tires even though, visibly they looked fine and only are 2-3 years old. Not properly balancing the rims and/or not aligning the suspension or hitting a bad pot hole is what could have cause the premature wear on one tire according to my mechanic.
[OP]
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If it's wheel bearings, then it will be an expensive repair if I go with original Subaru bearing :(
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DJ Trance AZ wrote: If it's wheel bearings, then it will be an expensive repair if I go with original Subaru bearing :(
Buy from rock auto and have a local indie shop install.
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DJ Trance AZ wrote: Finally able to take my car out of parking; did change out the front and back diff. oil and also did a drain and refill for the CVT fluid; rotated front tires to the back and deflated to about 30 PSI.

Test drove for about an hour; made fairly fast left and right turns and didn't hear humming.

However, the humming sound came back when I drove above 70km/h (going on to highway); I couldn't hear any humming at highway speeds (tarmac surface). Then drove on parts of the highway with concrete surface and couldn't hear the humming either. My windows were closed with HVAC and radio off.

I haven't put on the winters yet.

Am I fairly safe to speculate it's the tires?
I would bet it's your tires after that feedback. I had the humming sound on different cars one turned out to be bearing the other tires. Based on the humming not increasing on turns, I would say it's your tires. What brand tires are you running? I'd suggest getting Michelins. They may cost more but they have never let me down in any aspect on numerous cars.
[OP]
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fordmaple wrote: I would bet it's your tires after that feedback. I had the humming sound on different cars one turned out to be bearing the other tires. Based on the humming not increasing on turns, I would say it's your tires. What brand tires are you running? I'd suggest getting Michelins. They may cost more but they have never let me down in any aspect on numerous cars.

I will put back the winters next month for testing, though it will be harder to hear the humming; I currently have on Michelin Premiere and took them to Costco for tire balance and rotation every about 5,000km religiously. Wheel alignment done every spring.

I might have to put on another set of tires when they go on sale there.
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DJ Trance AZ wrote: I will put back the winters next month for testing, though it will be harder to hear the humming; I currently have on Michelin Premiere and took them to Costco for tire balance and rotation every about 5,000km religiously. Wheel alignment done every spring.

I might have to put on another set of tires when they go on sale there.
It sounds like this humming noise goes up in volume with speed. At this point it might be cheaper to get a mechanic to put your car on a lift and use the stethoscope and listen for any noise from usual suspects in the driveline. Drive shaft bearing(s), wheel hub/bearing(s) etc just to confirm. If they are all quiet, then maybe it really is the tires? Or could be certain kind of trim buffeting at speed. I am thinking about engine undertrays, any aero panels etc. The mechanic may be able to offer his/her professional advice.

If any of your friends or family has a Subaru, would borrowing a set of their wheels temporarily be an option? just to test it out and rule out the tires.....
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DJ Trance AZ wrote: If it's wheel bearings, then it will be an expensive repair if I go with original Subaru bearing :(
No warranty? Bearings shouldn't be considered a wear item. Did you smoke a curb or huge pothole?
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Jun 21, 2006
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DJ Trance AZ wrote: If it's wheel bearings, then it will be an expensive repair if I go with original Subaru bearing :(
on my catalogue it shows list price $251.53 for oem subaru part per side for the front
labour is $100 per side front

rear bearing oem subaru part $346.05 each
labour for rear is $180 each
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CanadianConsumerYEG wrote: No warranty? Bearings shouldn't be considered a wear item. Did you smoke a curb or huge pothole?
Good point - although OP is past the Subaru 3/60 basic warranty, perhaps bearings would be covered by their major components warranty.
[OP]
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Thanks guys; I try to drive my car carefully and not to hit major potholes if I can.

I will schedule a service appointment later on then.

In the past I had only serviced my car in dealerships but my experiences with Subaru dealerships are quite different; will visit Indie shops for this potential repair.
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Took my Subaru out of parking and put on the winter tires; the humming sound remains audible :(

So the next step is to determine which wheel bearing is bad ...
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Take it to igarage he posted prices above, Or tell us your general area and we can recommend good shops if you dont want to go to the dealer again.
DJ Trance AZ wrote: Took my Subaru out of parking and put on the winter tires; the humming sound remains audible :(

So the next step is to determine which wheel bearing is bad ...

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