Q: Loud grinding noise coming from front right tire.

asked by on November 23, 2017

Since I have swapped my tires with winter ones, I have been hearing a loud grinding noise that increases and decreases with speed and braking. At some point in the past three weeks of driving like this two of my lug studs have busted off. There is no rubbing of any sort around the tire well. I would like to know what are some of the causes of this noise and how I can avoid loosing more studs once replaced. Thank you.

My car has 112000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

It sounds like you may have a wheel bearing that may be close to locking or freezing up, which can generate an enormous amount of heat. This may eventually be enough heat to cause the wheel studs to break as you describe. A wheel bearing will usually fail due to pitting or small damage on the surface of the rollers or the bearing race. Both the surface of the rollers and the race is precision machined to tight tolerances and highly polished to allow the rollers to pass easily over the race with the addition of bearing grease for lubrication and cooling. Over time the bearing will wear slightly, allowing microscopic pieces of metal into the grease. Bearing noise can sound a lot like a brake pad dragging or grinding. It can also sound like whirring, whining or humming depending on how much sound deadening material your vehicle has in it. Bearing noise will always be dependent on vehicle speed meaning as you speed up or slow down the noise should change frequency or loudness. Cornering may affect the noise from a damaged front wheel bearing and is usually more pronounced as you make turns. I would suggest having a professional from Your Mechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your vehicle.

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