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Squealing/grinding/weird noise from car

cyphrcyphr Registered User regular
edited May 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I have a 1994 Pontiac Grand Am (don't judge, I got it super cheap and it's gotten me from A to B so far), and it's recently developed a noise coming from, as best I can tell, the front passenger's side wheel area. It may be under the hood, but I hear it best when there's something on my right side that the sound echoes off of.

It only happens when the car's in motion, and it stops (or gets significantly quieter) when I'm braking or turning right. It's sort of a squealing noise, but also sounds kind of like grinding. High pitched, and I guess you could describe it as a 'hydraulic-y' sound, but squealing is probably the best term.

I'm planning on getting it looked at sooner or later, but I'm hoping you H/A auto nerds can tell me if it's a "get if fixed tomorrow or you will die" or a "spray some WD-40 on that shit and let it be" kind of thing. My googling has come up with issues ranging from a loose belt, to a wheel bearing, to worn brake pads (I got new pads + rotors + tires not too long ago, however), to power steering. All my fluid levels appear to be fine, though my transmission fluid could use a flush, as I was told at my last oil change.

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  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Wheel bearing is a pretty good guess given the description (whine/hydraulic noise, changes volume depending on if you're turning or not.)

    It doesn't clunk or pop, does it?

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  • cyphrcyphr Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    No clunking or popping, no.

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  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    cyphr wrote: »
    No clunking or popping, no.

    My guess is a wheel bearing then, suspension bits tend to clunk/pop/groan. If you want to be sure, jack the wheel in question up, grab it at the top and bottom, and try to "rock" it. If it's got any play to it that way, have someone hit the brakes and see if you can move it. If it stops, wheel bearing.

    Not a serious omg get it fixed nau issue but it can lead to worse things down the road if not fixed. Worst case being it gets neglected for months, noise gets worse, bearing/hub assembly overheats, and the wheel comes off. :P So it's safe to drive to the shop, or around to several to find the best deal, it's not a "tow it to the closest one and pay what they ask" situation.

    Only other thing, since you specified Grand Am, it doesn't wobble or vibrate under braking, right? N-Bodys were notorious for warped rotors.

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  • cyphrcyphr Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Actually the braking can be a little uneven and sometimes grabs a little, but hasn't seemed like a huge problem. And I was wrong in the OP, I just dug out the invoice and they replaced a bunch of stuff on the rear brakes, including the cylinders, but there was no mention of rotors.

    Hmmm. I'll see if I can't get some estimates tomorrow, then - if it's not something awful I may try to wait it out for a few more weeks until I move into my new apartment though, because then I'll be close enough to work that I can take the bus. Thanks dude.

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  • TexiKenTexiKen Dammit! That fish really got me!Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Wheel bearing sounds like the best bet, but it might be the CV joint boot on the front driver side. The noise at higher speeds is what's throwing me off.

    When you turn from a stop does it seem like one wheel is spinning faster than the other when you reapply the gas?

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  • cyphrcyphr Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    No, can't say it does.

    When I started the car earlier today (had been parked for over 15 hours, I'd say), it took about a minute for the sound to start. I don't know if that's a clue or not.

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  • TexiKenTexiKen Dammit! That fish really got me!Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Looking at trouble spots for a 92-98 grand am, the transaxle on the front right side seems to have been a problem GM recognized.

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