Mechanics

TOYOTA AVALON NOISE PROBLEM

1998 Toyota Avalon • 115,000 miles

The car makes a increasingly loud noise as the car drives at increasing speed. When not moving there is no noise. The tires were changed with no affect on the noise. What are the mostly causes of the road noise? Thank you. Bill
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William Dunne
November 13, 2012.



Noisy wheel bearing. Run it in gear on a hoist and listen next to each one with a stethoscope. Don't rely on which side it sounds like the noise is coming from. I would have been fooled too many times.

Caradiodoc
Nov 13, 2012.
Is the noise a high pitch noise or a growl type noise? Does it change with the direction of the steering?

Homer1967
Nov 14, 2012.
The noise on the 1998 Avalon does not change with steering changes. Rather it sounds like it comes from the rear and only varies with speed. This is a front wheel drive vehicle. It is a rather loud growl/roar.

Thanks, Bill

Tiny
William Dunne
Nov 14, 2012.
Noises travel so while it can sound like it's coming from the rear, the front bearings are more likely suspects. As for getting a clue from turning, as in changing lanes at highway speeds, that works real well on older cars with pressed-in wheel bearings. If the noise gets louder when turning left, it is the right bearing. More weight shifts to it and makes it louder. Turning the other way often makes the noise completely go away.

You can't rely on that trick with bolted-on bearing assemblies. They can sound like the noise is coming from the left side, they can get louder when turning right, and end up being the right one that's bad. I've been fooled too many times. The only sure way I've found to identify those is by listening next to each one with a stethoscope while running it in gear on a hoist.

You have those pressed-in bearings on the front so if turning doesn't affect the noise, it could indeed be a noisy rear bearing. The rear ones are the assemblies that typically don't change sound when turning.

There is a tool you might be able to borrow or rent from an auto parts store that borrows them called the "Chassis Ear". It is a set of six microphones, a switch box, and headphones. You clip the microphones to suspect points, then drive around while listening with the headphones. You can move the microphones around to zero in on the source of the noise. Be aware that many mechanics have never seen or even heard of this tool. Suspension and alignment mechanics use it to find rattles, squeaks, and other noises.

Caradiodoc
Nov 14, 2012.
Dear Caradiodoc

Thanks very much for the help with my car problem. Will work on it from the perspective of wheel bearing failure.

Bill

Tiny
William Dunne
Nov 16, 2012.
I second the chassis ear suggestion, it works very well.I use mine for everything from wheel bearings to strut plates. If you can get the car on a lift and spin each wheel by hand you may be able to feel the roughness of a bad bearing with you hand on the control arm or strut. Also try to wiggle the wheel from top to bottom with one hand at 12 o'clock and the other at six o'clock. To check for any accessive movement.

Homer1967
Nov 16, 2012.