Road noise or wheel bearing noise?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by sniwallof, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. sniwallof

    sniwallof Active Member

    I think my ride is getting a little noisier (in EV mode, engine off), especially around 40 - 55 mph, but I can't seem to figure out if it is just road noise or something like a wheel bearing.

    I have to get one those rubber adapters for my floor jack (still have just the Bolt jacking parts). Once I can jack it, can you hear or feel anything specific to a wheel bearing problem by just lifting the car so the tire is just off the ground and free rotating a wheel?

    Unfortunately, I don't think I hear it at slow speed. Maybe that points to road noise?
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  2. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member Subscriber

    It may be worth getting the jack adapter and spinning each wheel. If a bearing is rough enough to be noisy, you might be able to feel/hear it with the wheel jacked up. A bonus is that you could then also carefully inspect each tire to make sure all is well with wear and condition. Tires do get noisier with miles, but since others on here have reported failed wheel bearings, it’s worth checking yourself or having the dealer do it.
  3. MrFixit

    MrFixit Well-Known Member

    You don't need any "rubber adapters" to jack the car. The crimped jack points are plenty beefy...
    I just rotated the tires, and used a regular floor jack. It was fine with no hint of any tendency to damage anything.
  4. AnthonyW

    AnthonyW Well-Known Member

    I had to have my wheel bearing replaced. It’s covered under warranty.

    The speeds at which you hear it and the fact that you don’t hear it at speeds outside that range strongly suggests it’s the bearing. Does it sound like a motorboat engine or helicopter? Can you “rev” the “motorboat engine” sound up and down by varying your speed?

    When you jack the car up see if you can wiggle (push/pull) the wheel against its axis. Any movement at all, no matter how slight, means you have a wheel bearing issue.

    Call the dealership ahead of time and see if they will preorder the parts for you. If not then be prepared to leave the car at the dealership for 3 or 4 days waiting for the part to come from California and then getting installed. The dealership is required to provide you a rental free of charge during this time.

    Don’t delay in getting this checked out and under no circumstances should the dealership allow you to drive the car anymore if it is officially diagnosed as a wheel bearing issue.

    Sent from my iPhone using Inside EVs
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
  5. Edward Dries

    Edward Dries New Member

    Here is a link that may help you determine if it is a wheel bearing:

    Note where he says "While driving down the road about 40 mph, sway the car side to side slowly, shifting the weight of the vehicle from one side to the other. Do not drive crazy or cause the car to spin out, just sway it gently. Notice whether the noise gets louder or softer. If the noise is a little less if you turn right, the damaged bearing may be on the right side, or vice versa." This has been my experience too, however I am not sure if he is correct on which side is bad.

    The main thing to know is the noise will become loader while turning one direction (depends on which side has the bad bearing ) and quieter when turning the opposite way.
    MajorAward likes this.
  6. sniwallof

    sniwallof Active Member

    Thank you all, great info!

    Just replaced an old asphalt driveway, so it will be some more days before I can get back into the garage to jack up the wheels (the driveway will still be too soft). It does not feel like an imminent failure, but I will check it out soon.
  7. sniwallof

    sniwallof Active Member

    Finally got back in the garage and jacked each wheel. Front required both eBrake off and "N", rear just the eBrake (used rubber chocks front and rear other side). Those bent over "U" shaped rib jack locations sure are nice. Just used the floor jack with its own pad. Would have added some rubber if it I had it, but no problems.

    passenger rear, there is a definite rubbing sound, but more like a warped rotor (noise part way around), same, but not as bad rear passenger side. no significant rust at first look, use the brakes less often and mostly gently, not sure how the rotor could be warped? Hopefully just an adjustment.

    front driver, quiet (if you turn the wheel too fast, you get the pedestrian noise!), front passenger, something, hard to tell if constant all the way around or just a slight rotor rubbing noise.

    no wobbles anywhere (pushing / pulling on alternate sides, top and bottom using the spokes).

    Can't get into Honda service till the 5th, will post more then. Turned out the most dangerous part of the exercise was mosquitos in the garage!
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
  8. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Plenty strong, but use either wood or rubber pads to avoid paint chipping from metal to metal contact. Rust will win if you don’t.
  9. sniwallof

    sniwallof Active Member

    One of the managers took my Clarity out for drive and said it sounds fine to him. Normally, I would be concerned, but my complaint was simply that the road noise is a bit more than I remember from new. He said some wiping noise turning the rear wheels is completely normal, and probably complicated by some rust from my infrequent driving. All I wanted was a "check up", so I guess all is fine. I was a little disappointed they didn't put it on the lift, but I think I trust them.

    Also, I remember dreading changing the Bolt over to snow tires, thinking it might get noisy. On the contrary, the Michelin X-Ice 3, made for a much quieter and softer ride, with only modest loss of range. So, if I do the same in the fall, the first thing I will listen for is change in road noise with new snow tires.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
    MPower likes this.
  10. sniwallof

    sniwallof Active Member

    I got another "data point" today. From the snow tire thread, I ordered one of the Victoria Wheel Clarity OEM tire/wheel sets. I decided to mount them now as received to check for any problems, e.g. balancing. Well the new 2019 set arrived in mint condition, and there is no indication of a balance issue either in ride feel or vibration in the wheel; they seem nearly perfect.

    Interesting part for this thread is that the slightly increased noise level I've sensed is identical to what is was with my OEM set. So, one thing for sure, there was nothing going on with my OEM tires or wheels (service manager had any number of causes related tires, which seems to clearly not be the case now).

    It still could be some brake rust issue, especially some kind of rubbing against one or two brake shields (rear), or just normal brake pad contact. But, I'm still not ready to rule out the front wheel bearing. Maybe at the Winter tire change over, I will try to manually rotate each of the hubs with the wheels off. There is nothing that feels dangerous, but I'm less convinced now that there is nothing that can be improved.

    I also need to rule out door seal issues, which could add to cabin road noise.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  11. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    You’ll never hear or feel a relatively quiet bearing or axle CV joint if rotating them slowly by hand, wheels in or off. If it’s truly a bad bearing, it will get worse with time and mileage, and at that point it can be easily identified and repaired.

    I say don’t drive yourself nuts over it, wait for it to get bad enough that nobody can dispute there is a problem.
  12. Hypomania

    Hypomania New Member

    I have my wheel bearing replace due to the similar issue. The noise was gone.
  13. Lowell_Greenberg

    Lowell_Greenberg Active Member

    Why did it fail in the first place?

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
  14. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Poor quality control from a supplier?
  15. sniwallof

    sniwallof Active Member

    yes, please tell us a little more. What did it sound like? What caused you to go the dealer (e.g. increased noise)? Was it a front wheel, which one? Thanks!
  16. Hypomania

    Hypomania New Member

    please see my earlier post. I never suspected it was a bearing issue until later the noise became much louder. Then I went to the dealership to check. They told me it was a bearing issue at front wheel. When thinking back, it fits the symptoms of a classic bearing failure. It went away in ten minutes because my commute is about 12 min with 10 min at higher speed.
  17. Lowell_Greenberg

    Lowell_Greenberg Active Member

    I was wondering if there was a triggering incident. The Clarity is a heavy car and I am unsure how beefed up the suspension is from an Accord- a considerably lighter car. From your reply it appears it was a factory defect issue.
  18. sniwallof

    sniwallof Active Member

    Thank you. Just a little confused, because "angry bees" usually means high rev. gas engine sounds. Are you saying the engine came on and rev'd, or just that you had very loud noise from the wheel bearing? Did they say driver or passenger side front?

    It must have been really bad if there was a repeatable change in reported mpg, probably that bearing was getting very hot, surprised there was no smell, or even some smoke.
  19. Hypomania

    Hypomania New Member

    Passenger side. I mistook the noise for engine rev.
  20. MrFixit

    MrFixit Well-Known Member

    This seems to be an interesting recurring theme.

    I haven't tried to look back through the forum to corroborate this, but it seems to me there have been maybe a half-dozen wheel bearing failures AND it also seems like these have always been on the passenger side front. It seems highly unusual to have this sort of problem on vehicles with 'low' mileage (and all on one side seems particularly fishty). I don't care if the vehicle is 4,000 lbs, or 10,000 lbs. These bearings are designed accordingly and should not be failing. I also believe that a pothole is very unlikely to cause a bearing failure. Bearings gradually wear over a long period leading to failures. The wear loosens the bearing and this play accelerates the failure.

    Either the bearing design is inadequate, or maybe there is an assembly line issue where they were getting torqued incorrectly on the right side? Interestingly, if the wheel bearing nuts are right-hand thread, the ones on the right side will have a tendency to tighten with wheel rotation. There is usually a castellated nut with a cotter-pin that prevents the nut from rotating, but an assembly process that isn't done properly can defeat a perfectly good design.

    Maybe I will try and substantiate how many unique reports there have been, and whether my impression of predominantly right front is really true...
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
    MajorAward and Lowell_Greenberg like this.

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