Q: Odd sound coming from L/F tire. Almost sounds like the tread only is rubbing but nothing is hitting it.

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I have a 96 Accord and I'm getting an odd sound coming from L/F tire. It sounds like the tread is rubbing but there is no wear on the tire or anything hitting it. I almost believe it's the wheel bearing but there is no grinding sound. It reminds me of when as a kid I would flip my bicycle upside down, turn the peddles fast and run a stick over the tire. I've never heard this kind of sound from a vehicle though. I have my 6 year old son in the vehicle going to doctor appointments and don't want to take a chance if it's something serious. I can't afford a mechanic to look at it but I am good with fixing things myself if I know what to fix. Any ideas what it could be? Thank you for your time.
My car has an automatic transmission.

You can rule out the tire as a possibility by simply moving that left front wheel/tire assembly to the rear. After you do that, if the noise persists at the left front, then the tire is not implicated. Wheel bearing failures do make a range of noises and the noise you are describing is potentially included. You can rule out simple things on your own, though, such as brake interference (stuck caliper; check for a hot rotor on left front versus the rotor on the other side) or debris that is perhaps caught in the area of the steering knuckle and/or brake shield. If you cannot find the noise, what I would suggest is that you request a wheel bearing noise diagnostic/inspection. In the course of that diagnostic, if the noise is not found to be due to a failing wheel bearing, the mechanic will nevertheless pinpoint the source of the noise for you whatever the cause. If the bearing has failed, replacement can commence at that time or at a time that is convenient for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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