A humming noise while accelerating can be caused by a bad wheel bearing, uneven tires, or an alternator belt issue. These problems can be dangerous, so it’s important to bring your car to a shop as soon as possible.
Bad wheel bearing
A bad wheel bearing is a common cause of grinding or humming noise.
Symptoms include knocking or clicking noises when cornering, groaning noises when driving straight, and vibrations in the steering wheel.
Causes include high impacts, poorly inflated rear wheels, and misaligned or unbalanced tires.
Get new tires on the same axle and check tires and wheels for signs of wear and damage.
Uneven tire wear
Causes include worn wheel bearings, improper wheel alignment, or over and under-inflation.
Symptoms include humming and groaning noises.
Check the tread on your own tires using the penny test, replace both wheels on the same axle if necessary, and plan a tire rotation every 5,000 miles.
Alternator belt problems
An unlikely but possible cause of the humming noise is a problematic alternator belt.
Symptoms include a humming noise while accelerating, a warning light on the dashboard, and difficulty starting the engine.
Causes include loose or a damaged belt, a worn alternator pulley, or a faulty alternator.
Check the alternator belt for wear and damage, check the tension of the belt, replace any worn or damaged parts, and have a professional inspect the alternator.
Check your tires and wheels often, and if you hear or see anything out of the ordinary, have a professional look at your car. By doing so, you can avoid the worst-case situation of a failed wheel bearing, which could cause a wheel to stop or even fall off while driving.
Chris Miller is an auto journalist who specializes in reviewing new cars and providing helpful advice on family vehicles. He has a passion for cars and enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise with others.