How to Keep Tire Noise Down
To kick things off, we're not talking about the noise that comes with peeling out, doing a burnout or even with drifting or taking a corner aggressively enough to cause your tires to chirp. (Though we do admit, those are some of the more fun reasons your tires might make noise.)
Unfortunately, there are a number of other reasons why your tires could be getting noisy.
While tire noise is usually at its loudest at higher speeds, (such as at cruising speeds on the freeway or while accelerating) if you think you're detecting tire noise the cause has likely been there for quite some time.
Below we've put together a comprehensive list of why your tires might be making noise.
Problem: When your tires are unbalanced, not only can they make for a noisy and uncomfortable ride, but driving on unbalanced tires can lead to premature tire wear and even tire failure.
Solution: Having your tires rebalanced is a surefire way to reduce the amount of noise from vibration that can be associated with tire noise overall.
Tires that need rotating
Problem: When your tires need to be rotated, your vehicle’s ride can feel as though it’s become somehow rougher over time. Neglecting to rotate your tires can cause uneven tread wear and reduced handling ability as the tires that are on the axle powered by your vehicle’s drivetrain may wear more quickly.
Solution: Have your tires rotated every 5,000 - 6,000 miles, which helps to prolong the overall life, longevity and performance of your tires.
This makes for safer and more reliable travel when driving in extreme conditions, not to mention making your ride more comfortable and quiet.
Off-road and performance tires
Problem: Off-road tires are noisy on bare pavement. Snow tires are noisy on bare pavement. Performance tires (sometimes) are noisy on bare pavement. Notice a recurring theme here? It’s because the compound in the rubber of these tires are different from your run-of-the-mill passenger or highway tire.
Off-road tires are particularly noisy on the highway because of how much air passes through their deep, aggressive tread patterns that make them so excellent for off-road use. If you’ve ever heard a lifted pickup with massive off-road tires pass you on the freeway, this is exactly what is happening.
Similar tread patterns are also used in winter and snow tires, along with stiffer sidewalls designed to cope with extremely cold temperatures that make driving on asphalt and concrete that isn’t covered with snow and ice far more noisy and uncomfortable than using passenger or even all-season tires.
And because high-performance tires often have the shortest sidewall and widest section width possible, any bump in the road is going to be far more jarring than if it were taken on tires that have more give between the road surface and the wheel.
Solution: If you know you’re not going to be off-roading, driving in the snow or on the track anytime soon, there are a few great reasons to invest in a set of separate tires for your commute outside of the extreme conditions you might want a specialized tire for.
To make matters easier, it might even be worth looking at a separate set of wheels as well, so that changeovers are a snap when you’re going to go camping or headed out for a track day on the weekend, as well as when winter is finally over.
Having a second set of passenger, all-season or even summer tires on hand to swap over will prolong the life of your specialty tires, while offering lower tire and road noise, increased ride comfort and better overall fuel economy.
Problem: Usually a symptom of tires that haven’t been balanced or rotated, (along with underlying suspension or alignment issues) not only can uneven treadwear eventually cause one tire to become louder than the others, it can eventually lead to reduced performance and tire failure.
Solution: Other than riding it out or getting the underlying cause of the uneven wear on the tire fixed, the only real solutions are to either replace the single worn-down tire or put a fresh set of tires on, if you’re getting close to needing new tires anyway. However, we always recommend changing all four tires at the same time. Learn more.
Uneven or low tire pressure
Problem: In addition to uneven treadwear, driving on tires with uneven tire pressure – whether too low or too high in one or more tires can lead to subtle tire noise while driving. Learn more about proper tire inflation and how it impacts treadwear.
Solution: Inflate or deflate your tires according to the correct PSI indicated in your vehicle’s doorjamb information sticker or in its owner’s manual. If you need any help checking your air pressure, give us a call at 800-589-6789.
Debris in tires
Problem: It might seem like a no-brainer, but debris getting stuck in the tread of your tires isn’t altogether uncommon. From gravel and rocks, ice, chunks of dirt and fresh asphalt to twigs or even (sadly) nails, there’s a laundry list of debris that can get stuck in your tires and cause noise while you’re driving.
And believe us when we say our techs have seen it all get stuck in tire treads.
Solution: You might be able to use a pen or a stick to get anything out that’s jammed in the tread, but it’s better to bring your tire in to your nearest service center if you see that you have a nail or other piece of debris actually puncturing your tire. If it isn't easily removed, it may actually be penetrating the tire.
And for the record, you should always leave the object in your tire instead of removing it, as it’s effectively plugging the hole that removing it would leave behind.
No matter what’s causing your tire to make noise, don’t let it wait long enough for it to cause you a headache!