Wheel bearing noise

Tiny
NEIL2002CIVIC
  • MEMBER
  • 2010 HONDA ACCORD
  • 2.4L
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 250,000 MILES
I have a humming noise at speeds over thirty mph and suspect a bad wheel bearing. My question is the car has the VSA control and can be disabled I have access to a lift so I can get a stethoscope on them. If I disable the VSA control can I spin the front tires without damaging the transmission or the traction control engaging. Also, will the ABS light come on and if it does will it clear once the car is driven? Thanks for your time and help. Neil
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Saturday, December 3rd, 2016 AT 5:53 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Cars with traction control will have a switch to turn that system off. The ABS will likely set a fault code when it sees the wheels running at vastly different speeds, but the system does not activate unless the brakes are being applied. On every car I have seen so far, the ABS warning light will turn off after you turn the ignition switch off, then restart the engine. The fault code will remain in memory. That should be erased for two reasons. First, if a totally different problem develops in the future, the already-existing code could be confusing. Second, whenever a problem is detected, there is always a long list of conditions that must be met for a fault code to set. One of those conditions is that certain other codes can't already be set. For example, if a wire is cut to one of the wheel speed sensors, that will be detected as soon as you turn on the ignition switch. A fault code will be set and the yellow warning light will be turned on. At that point the ABS Computer will know it cannot rely on the sensor or for it to provide a signal, so it will suspend some of its self-tests, and it will not set a code for a missing signal. If you leave the code in the computer for the missing rear wheel speed signals, it may not test for proper signals from the front wheels, and that could result in an actual problem with just one front speed sensor going undetected.

This has a secondary concern, (sorry, I cannot think of a better word), where an actual problem goes unrepaired. Typically I read, "until I can get the money". The first problem causes some tests to be aborted so a second problem that occurs months later is not detected and no fault code related to it is set. It is not until the first problem is repaired, then during the test-drive, the other tests resume, and that is when the second problem is first detected. Your mechanic had no way of knowing there was a second problem when he calculated the repair estimate, and now he has to tell you more diagnosis time and repair cost are needed. We hate having to do that, and it is frustrating for car owners too. You incorrectly assume the car was not diagnosed correctly, or it was not repaired correctly. This is even more common on GM front-wheel-drive cars where failure of front ABS wheel speed signals, due to normal wheel bearing wear, occurs in as little as 15,000 miles. If one failure is repaired right away, the second, different failure will be detected two to four months later, and it will be obvious the cause is different. When you wait for many months with the first failure is when you get unpleasantly surprised to find the second failure no one knew about.

With your car, it is a simple procedure with a scanner to erase any fault codes that set by running the car on a hoist. Then, if a real problem develops later, it will be detected right away and you will know about it.

I greatly prefer listening next to each wheel bearing with a stethoscope to find the noisy one, but there is another way to consider. Jack one wheel off the ground, place the transmission in neutral, reach over the top of one front tire and wrap your fingertips around part of the coil spring. With your other hand, rotate the wheel and tire. If that wheel bearing is noisy, you will feel the vibration in the coil spring.
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Saturday, December 3rd, 2016 AT 6:26 PM
Tiny
NEIL2002CIVIC
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the quick response and detailed message The car only has 25,000 miles on it not 250,000
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Sunday, December 4th, 2016 AT 1:05 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Here's something else to consider. 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.

The older version uses wired microphones. The tool guys who visit shops each week sell these for around $200.00, but I've seen them for a third that cost on Amazon. There's a newer version that has four wireless microphones, and two with wires.
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Monday, December 5th, 2016 AT 7:18 PM
Tiny
NEIL2002CIVIC
  • MEMBER
That's a great idea! I have heard of it, I own the engine ear stethoscope I was going to try to isolate the noise with that first. I did check on the Chassis Ear. I found the wired one for 100.00 and the wireless one for 200.00 like you said. I found them to be cheapest at tool topia not sure witch one I should go for. What do you think? Never used one before. You were also correct about the auto part places not having a clue about the chassis ear bummer would have been nice if I could have rented one instead of possibly buying one. Thanks again for your time and the advice I'll let you know how I make out. Neil
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Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 AT 9:10 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I used the wired model when I worked at the dealership. We had both models at my community college. I preferred using the wired model, but it takes some time to run the wires into the car.
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Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 AT 7:08 PM
Tiny
NEIL2002CIVIC
  • MEMBER
Hi just to update you. I found a bad rear wheel bearing. I was able to do it with a stethoscope this time I still may invest in the Chassis Ear to have on hand. Thanks for your help you have been the best tech I have spoke to in all the times I have used this service! Happy holidays and a great new year to you. Neil
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Thursday, December 22nd, 2016 AT 8:56 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Thank you. Actually, I have lots of people fooled, but if you feel the need to think I'm smart, by all means, go right ahead! :)
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Friday, December 23rd, 2016 AT 11:32 AM
Tiny
NEIL2002CIVIC
  • MEMBER
Hi Caradiodac May I please ask you another question?It pertains to the same car. I trust your judgement over the advice I recieved from another tech Thanks in advance
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Thursday, September 28th, 2017 AT 3:02 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Please post a new question is the subject matter is different

Please post your question here

https://www.2carpros.com/questions/new

Cheers, Ken
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Thursday, September 28th, 2017 AT 2:30 PM

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