How do you identify where the noise from tires / axle / bearings is coming from? - '10 Civic

feetsdrfeetsdr Member Posts: 4
edited December 2014 in Honda
I have a 2010 Honda Civic with 73K miles. I've noticed that the car can get loud when driving and would like to ask help.

It has 4 Michelin Primacy tires from Costco put on at 45K. Not sure when the noise started, but now with my iphone I run a sound meter app and the sound level is 80 - 95db . Yeah, it's not calibrated, but my wife's Lexus reads about 75db worst case. so even just relative to the lexus, it's loud.

The noise is loudest (95db)at around 57MPH and some other speeds like 47, 67 also. Other speeds in between these, it gets down to 80db.

There's NO vibration at any speeds (so tires are balanced?)
There's NO pull to either side when driving
There's NO pull to either side when braking
There's NO change in the sound level when putting the transmission in neutral (so it's not a trans issue?)
There's NO change in the sound level when the engine is idling at the speeds (so the sound is not tied to RPM level)
There's NO discernible change in the sound level on different roads (so 57 MPH is loud on most any road).
The tires are wearing normally
Rotating the tires had no change in the sound level

What's left? Tires and axle / bearings? Is there anything I can do to look for / test for to figure out the issue, short of a new set of tires? I guess I'll have a mechanic look at the bearings?

Is tire noise usually tied to road speed in that pattern of getting louder at a certain speed, getting quieter above and below that speed, then get louder again at another certain speed?



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Looking at the bearings (that means pulling them out, cleaning them off and examining them and their races) is one worthwhile thing to do; another might be to lift the front or lift the car, put it in gear and determine if the noise is completely gone or not. If it is, you might suspect the tires.

    You could also have a problem in the transaxle, so changing the fluid to a synthetic oil and using an additive might offer some relief in certain instances.
  • zandor60657zandor60657 Member Posts: 8
    Have a mechanic drive it and listen to it. Bearings, axles, and tires make different sounds. If you're not sure have someone who knows what they're doing drive it and see.

    It would be quite unusual for a car with only 73k on it to have multiple bad bearings. If it is a bearing, I would expect it to come from one wheel.

    You shouldn't expect a Civic to be as quiet as a Lexus. Luxury cars have more sound insulation. A Lexus is supposed to kick a Civic's back side six ways from Sunday on noise levels.
  • feetsdrfeetsdr Member Posts: 4
    zandor, yes, the lexus should be quieter : ) but the civic is louder than typical : (

    thanks guys!
  • capriracercapriracer Member Posts: 906
    edited December 2014
    You posted this question on another website and I commented there, but for those who are interested, since you've rotated the tires and no change, then it is not likely tires. It is likely something else - bearings or CV joints.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,730
    Diagnosing noises is a learned skill, and part of dong it effectively requires driving the car and hearing the sounds first hand. This can be enhanced by more than one technician taking part in the effort and with tools like Chassis Ear. BTW the bearings are sealed units and not inspect-able through disassembly. But with Chassis Ear a tech can isolate the sounds as to being in a bearing or not.
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