Hearing strange and unexpected sounds coming from various parts of your vehicle is always a worrying prospect because it signals that something is not quite right.
So if your tires are making worrying sounds, you may be wondering – do tires make noise, and what does the noise mean? Here is what I’ve found out about this!
Do Tires Make Noise?
All tires make a low humming noise while driving. However, squealing, howling, or thumping noises indicate that the tire needs to be inspected for faults. Note that tires with varying patterns of tread or stiffer sidewalls such as off-road and run-flat tires make loud noises in normal conditions.
If you want to know more about whether tires get quieter as they wear, what can cause a loud humming, and much more, keep on reading!
Do Tires Make Noise While Driving?
As a vehicle travels on the road, the air gets compressed inside the tire treads, creating the typical tire noise you hear while driving.
Note that different kinds and patterns of tread create different levels of noise.
For instance, tires that are suitable for heavy towing or driving off-road tend to be noisier than other tires since their treads are deeper than those of regular tires.
Additionally, when the tread depth is unbalanced around the surface of the tire, it will produce a louder noise while driving.
If your tires are making a light and consistent humming sound while you drive, you need not worry about it since it is a normal feature of every tire.
Is It Normal For New Tires To Make Noise?
It is completely normal for new tires to make some noise in the first couple of weeks since, during that time, the rubber heats up and lubricants are dispersed throughout the tire.
However, keep in mind that if your tires continue to be this way after a month, you should definitely get them inspected for any underlying issues.
Do Tires Get Quieter As They Wear?
Tires do not get quieter as they wear over time. In fact, they start to get louder because of the decreasing amount of rubber between the inside steel belts and the road.
Additionally, if the tires get worn unevenly or lose alignment after prolonged use, they tend to make a lot more noise than normal because the original shape is distorted.
Do Cheap Tires Cause Noise?
Cheaper tires are typically made from lower-quality raw materials and rubber. Because of this, there is less rubber sidewall to absorb the noise.
Along with that, the noise also transfers to the entire vehicle through the chassis, making the sound heard loud and clear inside the passenger cabin.
Do Winter Tires Cause Noise?
Winter tires tend to be noisier than summer tires because of the differences in tire structure that allow them to provide better traction in the first place.
For instance, the wider spaces between the treads allow the tires to make a pathway through snow, but also trap more air in the process, creating more noise.
Winter tires also have to push the snow and slush beneath the tires (unlike summer tires) which creates a constant sloshing noise.
Other than that, silica is added to the rubber of winter tires to make them more flexible and increase traction on slippery surfaces.
However, this silica-reinforced rubber then makes a lot more noise because of the increased friction.
Do Run-Flat Tires Cause Noise?
According to online reports, run-flat tires create more noise than standard tires because they are stiffer on the outside, to prevent the tube from getting damaged.
This stiffness leads to more noise that is also transferred to various parts of the car, ultimately increasing the amount of noise you hear while driving.
What Noise Do Bad Tires Make?
The kind of noise your tires are making can give helpful clues about what may be wrong with them.
Here are the common types of noises bad tires produce, along with the most likely cause for these noises.
Humming or growling noise
This noise is produced when the tires have a bad wheel bearing or chopped tire treads.
If the volume of the noise keeps increasing with speed, it means the tires have not been rotated for a long time or one of the suspension components is failing.
Snapping or clicking noise
This might be due to bad wheel bearings, a damaged outer CV joint, or an endplay bearing that is way past its standard lifespan.
Knocking or thumping noise
A knocking or thumping noise is generally caused by a flat spot in the tire, under-inflated tires, or misaligned tires.
This can be due to a bad wheel bearing or loose pinion-bearing. Note that if you are hearing a rumbling sound as well, it is likely to be because of the bad wheel bearing.
Squealing or grinding noise
A squealing or grinding noise is produced by a defective bearing in most cases.
You can confirm this by changing your speed – if the noise gets worse as you speed up, then you have a damaged bearing on your hands.
How Can You Reduce Tire Noise In Your Car?
Here are several factors that influence the noise your tires produce, along with guidelines on how to reduce the noise for a comfortable and quiet journey:
Choose an appropriate wheel size
As a general rule, if you have a bigger tire, it will be noisier.
So you should make sure to purchase a tire that is proportional to the size of your car, balancing the car’s visuals with the size of the wheels.
Reduce the tire width
Narrow tires are less noisy since the contact area is less. You should check your vehicle’s user manual for dimensions suggested by the manufacturer.
Use tires based on weather conditions
Use tires according to the season they are designed to be used in.
For instance, you should not use summer tires in winters since they will produce more noise and are likely to get damaged.
However, it is important to note that winter tires tend to make more noise than summer tires due to their safety features.
Replace the door seal
The seal between the door and the car’s frame can get worn out over time, allowing more noise to enter the passenger cabin.
You can replace the seal or put in an extra seal to reduce the overall amount of noise (from tires and other parts).
Soundproof the passenger cabin floor
Another way to reduce the tire noise is to soundproof your cabin floor by installing mats. However, keep in mind that this may be a costly option.
Maintain the correct inflation pressure
Regularly check that all the tires are properly inflated because underinflated or overinflated tires create noise (as mentioned earlier).
Rotate and align your tires regularly
Make a habit of regularly getting your tires inspected, rotated, and aligned to fix any issues. This will reduce the noise they produce and prolong their life.
Which Tires Produce Very Little Noise?
Tires manufacturers have poured a lot of money into the development of technologies that allow tires to produce as little noise as possible and ensure a comfortable ride for customers.
If you’re on the lookout for tire models that are known to produce very little noise, you should check out tires that are equipped with the following noise-reduction technologies:
- The Pirelli Noise Cancelling System™ (PNCS): The PNCS reduces overall noise by 50% by using a sound-absorbing device inside the tire
- Continental ContiSilent™
- Goodyear SoundComfort Technology: This technology by Goodyear lowers the vehicle’s interior noise level by building a sound barrier inside the tires
- Michelin® Acoustic Technology: Michelin uses a polyurethane foam solution which muffles noise resonance, reducing noise by 20%
- Dunlop Noise Shield Technology: Dunlop’s noise shield technology dampens the “Tire Cavity Resonance” inside the tire, reducing noise significantly
All tires make noise while driving. However, if the tires show an unusual pattern of noise (such as howling, squealing, or grinding), you should get them checked by a professional mechanic.
Winter tires and run-flat tires tend to make more noise in regular use as compared to standard tires due to their differing structures. In general, the wider and larger a wheel, the more noise it will make.