Some drivers may shrug at tire noise, believing it’s something normal. After all, doesn’t a tire come in contact with road surfaces? Sounds and noises are inevitable!
However, noises too strange or deafening clearly signal something abnormal. Time to pull your car to the side and ask yourself: Why are my tires so loud all of a sudden?
Our expert team will gladly lend a hand in deducing reasons for your unbalanced tire noise. Keep scrolling.
In this article:
Is It Normal That There Are Tire Noises When Driving?
Yes! Some noises are perfectly normal, stemming from your tire materials scrubbing against the pavement. Of course, the sound volumes also depend on your tire’s quality and type, correlating with its wear resistance, traction, etc.
On the other hand, troubles are clearly present if the sounds are so loud that ignoring them is plain impossible.
Why Are My Tires So Loud? Reasons Behind Tire Noises When Driving and Fix Tips
1. Normal Reasons (Meaning There’s Mostly Nothing To Worry About)
- Tire types: All tires make noises. Run-flat, off-road, and snow tires are especially loud due to solid tread patterns and stiffer sidewalls. Meanwhile, performance tires produce much fewer noises to offer excellent responsiveness and road grip.
However, if a comfort-oriented tire is noisy on smooth surfaces under normal conditions, technical problems are the culprit.
- Tire sizes: Bigger-sized tires are usually noisier; for instance, 265/ tires have more contact areas than 235/ ones, producing more sounds as their rubbers scrub the road. Hence, if you feel like your car is experiencing tire noise, double-check the tire’s size and aspect ratio.
- Tire tread: Symmetrical and aggressive tire treads generate more noise – the direct result of compressed air escaping between the surface and the tire. More space between tread blocks equates to more trapped air, and the car inevitably sounds louder.
If you can afford it, we suggest buying tires with varied block patterns, whose different tones balance each other to produce white, neutral noise. Such techniques are called “pitch sequencing,” critical in maintaining a quiet tire.
2. Unserious Reasons (No Fixes Are Needed Yet, But You Should Avoid These Cases As Much As Possible)
a. Road Conditions
Porous and coarse surfaces are the usual culprits behind loud tire sounds:
- Freshly-finished roads: Sticky pores are still littered all over them, causing hollow noises.
- Uneven surfaces and road objects: Tires bumping on bricks, gravel, and rough roads lead to drumming sounds.
- Highways under repair: As their construction is not yet finished, some concrete/asphalt layers have been temporarily removed, leading to rubbing sounds that will disappear once your car enters regular highways again.
Remember only to test tread noise on spacer-less asphalt concrete. These surfaces are dead quiet and never interfere with the tire’s original sound.
b. Driving Habits and Conditions
The car tires may produce loud sounds due to at least one of the following:
- High-rate cornering
- Hard braking
- Rapid acceleration
- Constant acceleration
- The car’s heavy load
Under these conditions, the groove air becomes compressed and sounds noisier. Likewise, high vehicle speeds give more room for air circulation in the tread, multiplying the regular noise tenfold.
And have we mentioned the air inside the tire itself, serving as a huge resonance chamber filled with drumming sounds?
3. Serious and Abnormal Reasons (Requiring Inflation, Tire Check/Maintenance/ Replacement At Tire Shops)
a. Uneven Treadwear
Inconsistent, imbalanced tread wear causes excessive vibration and noise. Note the following possible patterns and assess which case your car belongs to:
- Under-inflation: The outside and inside edges wear faster than the middle/center parts.
- Over-inflation: The center parts wear much quicker than the tire’s edges.
- Camber wear: One shoulder wears faster than every other remaining part of the tire.
- Feathering: One rib edge becomes round while the remaining one grows sharper.
- Cupping: Some tread areas have scooped rubber.
Inflation problems can easily be fixed at home by yourself using tire gauges. Otherwise, you should trust professional technicians to handle the situation.
b. Lack of Maintenance
When was the last time you had your car serviced? If the answer is not so positive, bring your vehicle to repair shops for some good maintenance routines, such as:
- Tire balancing. Cars with imbalanced tires will suffer from stiffer spots and constant bounces, producing loud noises and vibrations beyond 45 MPH.
- Tire rotation. No tire rotation paves the way for uneven wear rates among your tires, causing noises. Thus, remember to ask the technicians for some tire rotations (switching the tire’s locations).
- Wheel alignment. Misaligned wheels lead to increased noises in the air chamber due to differences in wear patterns. Worse, they even tilt your car, making you struggle to control it properly. The longer you put off these wheel services, the more you have to suffer from bad alignment noise!
What If There Is Only Front Wheel Noise When Driving?
Double-check the rear wheels. If there are indeed no abnormal signals on your back tires – and only the front ones suffer – brakes are likely to blame.
Inspect whether the brake pad, rotor, or caliper malfunctions, and have them fixed as soon as possible!
How to Differentiate Between Tire Noise and Bad Wheel Bearing Noise?
It might be difficult to tell them apart – since both tire and wheel bearing problems can cause the same noises. A rule of thumb is to manually inspect whether they undergo structural failures.
Still, here are some helpful pointers for better navigation:
- Chopped tire treads
- Malfunctioning hub bearing
- Damaged/worn CV joint
- Faulty wheel bearing endplays
- Flat spots in the tires
- Tire underinflation
- Misaligned tires
- Loose bearing preloads
- Broken wheel bearing
- Alignment issues in the tires
- Tire underinflation
- Worn wheel wearing
2. Visible Symptoms:
Symptoms of Bad Tires:
- Cracks or bulges, uneven wear
- Air pressure issues, vibrations
- Blisters or bubbles
Symptoms of Bad Wheel Bearing:
- ABS failure, wheel wobbles
- Steering vibration or loose steering
How Much Does It Cost to Have Tires Repaired?
DIY kits of simple plugs and tools only cost you $5 to $50. Meanwhile, tire replacements at repair shops charge you more, about $30 to $60.
Note that these numbers can rack even higher if your industrial tire is located in a place not safe for quick repairs, up to a whopping $750.
See more: How much does it cost to patch a tire?
Can Tire Noise Go Away On Its Own?
Yes, if the reasons for these noises stem from normal causes (tire size/tread, road noises and conditions, etc.). Otherwise, only professional treatments can turn them into quieter tires.
This article has hopefully addressed your concerns. Give the car proper tire replacements and maintenance if needed, and do not forget to keep an eye on its tires before and after every trip!