Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Loud repetitive noise coming from front tire in 2 wheel drive, goes away when in 4 wheel drive.

asked by on

Had my tires rotated before a long trip (~120 miles). The mechanic noted "both right side ball joints loose".
No problem on my way there, but coming back a noise started coming from the front tires. When I switched to 4 wheel drive, the noise went away. I drove about 50 miles in 4 wheel drive on dry pavement at ~40 mph and noticed a smell like burning rubber or something similar. When I looked in the driver side tire area, there was some kind of liquid film that seemed to be leaking/spraying. I switched back to 2 wheel drive and put up with the noise for the rest of the trip. I'm assuming that I shouldn't have driven in 4 wheel drive for that long and that it is a ball joint problem. Did I make a bad situation worse? Thank you.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello, thank you for writing in. Chances are there was an existing issue that was amplified by the tire rotation. There are several parts that will cause similar symptoms. You will want to consider the parts that are under load in 4wd, that are free when in 2wd. This would include the axle and sveral joints. There are a couple of tests that can be done. More damage was likely done driving on dry pavement in 4wd. It was a good step in diagnostics, but should be avoided. For more help with diagnosing the sounds, contact our service department to schedule an appointment.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  • Home
  • Questions
  • Loud repetitive noise coming from front tire in 2 wheel drive, goes away when in 4 wheel drive.

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Huge oil leak for NO reason?

There are quite a few oil seals on an engine that could leak. If the front crankshaft seal tore or was pushed out that could create a large sudden leak. That seal is not difficult to replace though. It's possible...

Q: My timing belt broke, is there a chance there is no damage? 2000 Dodge Neon

Unfortunately, the valves are most likely bent along with possible piston damage. The 2.0ltr in both single and double-overhead-cam configurations are interference engines. The valves and pistons occupy the same space. The job of the timing belt is to keep...

Q: "Check gauges" light is on.

In most cases, one of the gauges on the dashboard may be reaching a high, low or inaccurate value to trigger the check gauges light. The idle control valve is not located near the belt but may cause starting or...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.