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Q: Thumping sound at front of car

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There is a small thumping sound coming from the front left side of the car.

Typical causes of thumping sounds are tire defects such as flat spots, internal (unviewable) tire belt separation, irregular wear, imbalance, and also radial force variation (too much irregularity in the stiffness of the tire’s sidewalls). Some of these tire faults can be determined during a visual tire inspection. If the thumping turns out to be due to flat spots on the tire, there is a possibility that the strut, or shock absorber, at that wheel position has failed. Tires will not ordinarily develop flat spots unless there is a fault with the suspension. If, however, the sound you are hearing is more like a humming, grinding, squealing, or whining noise that typically signifies a problem with a wheel bearing. Wheel bearing failure is fairly straightforward to diagnose and would be dealt with in a wheel bearing noise inspection.

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