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

asked by on December 26, 2016

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.

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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.

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