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Your car makes a lot of different sounds while operating, from the friction of the brakes to the roaring of the engine. Most of these sounds would be familiar to you, and some may even indicate your car’s specific properties.
However, it’s the strange noises that catch your attention as they indicate that something fishy is going on in your vehicle. In such cases, you may also attempt to locate the source of the strange sound and identify its cause.
Often, your car may also make an unusual rubbing noise that arises from your vehicle’s front wheel while you drive it. Usually, these types of noises relate to the rotating mechanism of your car, but it is not necessarily the root cause all the time.
That being said, there can be a number of reasons why your car’s front wheel is making rubbing noise. Let us go through the various causes as well as their proposed solutions, along with several other insightful details in this blog post.
Potential Causes of Rubbing Noise from Front Wheels
Upsized or Modified Tires
It’s a common practice for car fanatics to upsize their wheel size as a modification for performance or aesthetic reasons. However, due to the way the fender, wheel wells, liner, and other components like steering linkage, springs, and struts are aligned, such modifications may cause issues.
Since most of these components are in close proximity, tinkering with the size of your wheels may cause them to make weird rubbing noises. It is recommended to use the stock tires for your vehicle, and even if you consider changing them, check the recommended size on their sidewall.
Change in Wheel Offset
The wheel offset controls the movement of the wheel from left to right within the wheel well, and a shift in its position can alter the placement of your front tires and cause a rubbing sound, even if there has been no change in the size of your wheels.
A lot of people believe that using an aftermarket wheel with the same diameter and width as your stock tires will perfectly fit your car. However, it’s a complete misconception, and you must consider wheel offset as a critical specification as well.
Wheel spacers are important components for the fitment, performance, and visual appeal of your car. These create a considerable clearance area for your interior wheel well and allow large tires to be fitted in front without any rubbing.
However, when misaligned, wheel spacers may move the tire and wheel assembly outwards and cause rubbing to take place on the wheel well liner of the vehicle fender, even though the interior clearance is achieved.
Replacement or New Tires
Although it is recommended to replace your car’s tires after a specific time, any minute variations in the dimensions of your aftermarket tires can cause the rubbing issue to occur. You must make sure that your replacement wheels are the same size as your stock wheels.
In addition, you should also make sure that there is little or no difference in the shoulder construction and tread design of your replacement wheels to prevent any different profiles in the wheel well of your car.
Issues in Suspension Component
If you notice a rubbing sound from your car’s front wheels while taking corners, driving over bumps, or anything that causes a transfer of weight occurs on either side of your vehicle, then there’s a great possibility of your car having failing suspension components.
Since the shock components in a car have a limited lifeline, they can fail over time, the shock mounts and bushing may wear, or the springs may lose their elasticity. As a result, your suspension components may lose their damping capacity and end up sagging.
Things To Do When You Hear Rubbing Noise from Your Car’s Front Wheels
Diagnose The Upper Bearing of Your Steering Column
The upper bearing of your car’s steering column is likely to wear out with time, which causes the plastic used as backing on the steering wheel to rub against the plastic cowing located on the upper bearing of your vehicle’s steering column.
Usually, this occurs on hot days as the tiny molecules in these components expand. This pushes the plastic and causes them to rub against each other, thereby generating the rubbing noise.
Check The Multi-Function Switch
A loose multifunction switch can also cause your car to make a rubbing noise. It’s a toggle that operates the headlights, directional signals, and wipers of your car, and it may rub with the steering wheel of your car.
Get Your Vehicle Inspected
While the rubbing noise from your front wheels isn’t a critical issue that needs to be addressed immediately, it is still recommended to get your vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic who will be able to identify the root cause of the issue and fix it for you.
Is It Safe to Drive Your Vehicle Wit Front Wheels Rubbing Noise?
In most cases, rubbing noise from the front wheels is an issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible, but it doesn’t pose any serious threats at all. However, if your mechanic suspects the issue to occur due to wheel well liner damage, then you need to address it immediately.
Additionally, the situation can get even more serious if the issue occurs due to problems with steering components or suspension, in which case, threats like the slicing of the tire sidewall and damage to components can take place.
Such issues can cause serious damage to your car and put you in a vulnerable position on the road. Regardless of the reason for the strange sound, a proper diagnosis is required to be done. Likewise, the solutions can be as simple as a plain alignment or as complex as the replacement of crucial parts.
How To Fix Rubbing Noise from Front Wheels of Your Car?
There are several ways you can fix the rubbing noise from your vehicle’s front wheels based on the cause of the issue. Here’s a stepwise procedure to help you get rid of the annoying noise from your car’s front wheels:
1. Lift The Vehicle with A Jack
To begin the inspection process, you first have to lift it off the ground by using a mechanical jack to gain a better view of the bottom panel of your car. Position the jack below the car and keep inclining it until you reach the desired height to check the components properly.
2. Diagnose the Brakes
Once you’ve lifted the car successfully, start by checking the brakes for any potential signs of damage. There are three major areas of interest here – the brake pads, the callipers, and the rotors. Let’s take a look at each of them one by one:
Brake pads are prone to damage and can be easily fixed without any trouble. However, before you head to the fixing part, you must recognize the problem with them. Certain signs like sparkling, rattling, and wear indicate that there’s something wrong with your car’s brake pads.
Here’s how you can fix it:
- You can install new brake pads for misaligned pads
- You can replace the worn-out pads with new ones
- You can seek professional help for impaired holding components
Callipers and Rotors
Callipers and rotors are quite difficult to fix as compared to your brake pads. That’s why it is recommended to get them fixed by a professional as soon as you diagnose the issue.
3. Check Your Wheel Bearings and Tires
The next thing that you should diagnose is the tires and wheel bearings of your car. Here’s what you should know about these components:
These are visible components of a car that can be fixed with ease. Here’s what you can do based on the situation:
- In the case of underinflated tires, you have to reinflate them using an air pump
- If your tires are torn or flat, you may consider replacing them with new ones instead
- If there’s any air leakage, repair them by reseating the area
You may also consider checking whether your wheel bearings are loose or if they have an adequate amount of lubrication or not. Depending on the underlying intricacies, your mechanic can help you fix issues with your wheel’s bearings.
4. Check The Dust Shield
The purpose of a dust shield in your vehicle is to prevent the heat of your braking system from reaching the drivetrain and suspension components of your car. It also prevents debris and water from entering the rotors, callipers, and brake pads.
In case this shield has been worn out, you can replace it with a new one. Also, consider cleaning the stones, dirt, and dust in the various components masked by the shield to eradicate any strange noises that it makes.
In a nutshell, it’s quite common to hear strange rubbing noises from your front wheels that may occur due to numerous reasons. Using the solutions mentioned above, you can easily get rid of such noises and continue driving your vehicle with complete peace of mind.