I had what I thought was the noise that is an early sign rear wheel bearing failure in my 94K mile 89 S4. You know, a low humming when I put the car in a forceful turn. Seemed to be coming from the right rear wheel. The left rear bearing had failed rather catastrophically a few months ago, taking out the hub with no early warning noises.

So, I was paying attention to the noise in the rear. It wasn't exactly the rumble or grinding I have heard in other cars, but sure thought it was the other bearing going South. Checked the torque on the rears with no change in the noise. So, I replaced the rear bearing. The old bearing looked fine but turned a bit more freely than the new bearing, which I was told is a sign that the bearing was dry. Anyway, it made sense to do the right bearing as the left had been replaced a short while ago.

You guessed it - the noise is still there, completely unchanged with the new bearing. Humph! What could it be? Tire noise? It's not like I'm turning hard enough to scrub the tires, although the tires are approaching end of life. The tires are quiet in straight line, so I don't know. New tires are coming nest week anyway. Maybe I should just ignore it. Any
other ideas?

89 S4


YES, it is probably the tire , many will make " wheel bearing " type noises as they reach the end especially if they are cupped / worn in the center . The all season mud and snow aggressive looking tread patterns favored for
"high performance tires" can often be noisy and the noise changes as they wear down .

Jim Bailey


I had this exact thing happen to me. I had a set of Michelin Z rated tires that sounded like a bad bearing. The noise did not seem to get worse so I did not worry too much about it. Imagine My surprise when I installed my Michelin Pilots and the noise mysteriously vanished. Also, it could possibly be a FRONT wheel bearing that is making the noise. Sometimes it's hard to tell where a noise is coming from. Bill (I think that's who started this thread) should check the front bearings just to be safe.