Humming noise in car getting louder with speed [6 Things to check]

If your car is making a humming sound when you drive at high speeds, you are not alone. But what’s creating the humming sound in the first place?

Humming noise in car getting louder with speed

The humming noise in your car is likely connected to uneven tire wear, a damaged wheel bearing, heavy-duty tires, exhaust system issues, or transmission issues. You should resolve the humming noise ASAP when you first notice it, given that your vehicle may not be safe to drive.

After extensively researching automotive forums, I have gathered enough information to determine what causes a car to hum at high speeds. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at how you can diagnose the humming sound in your car so you can properly resolve it.

Why is My Car Making a Humming Noise at High Speeds

Do you have to endure an annoying humming sound every time your car gets up to speed? This can become quite tedious after a while, and understandably so. 

Although some road noise is to be expected when you drive your vehicle, most cars these days are designed to be as quiet as possible. Many drivers experience an obnoxious humming sound that seems to get louder the faster they drive. 

It’s important to understand that this issue can be connected to a number of different parts of your car. In most cases, resolving a humming sound is not very difficult and requires basic repairs or parts replacements. 

However, if the problem is connected to a serious mechanical fault, then the humming sound can be a sign of a severe issue with your vehicle. The humming noise coming from your car is likely associated with one of the following components:

  • Tires
  • Wheels
  • Exhaust
  • Transmission

What Should I Do When I Notice the Humming Noise in My Car?

If the humming noise in your car appeared all of a sudden, this can be rather alarming for a lot of drivers. It’s important to pay attention to the symptom as it develops so that you can determine where the sound is coming from. 

You should ideally be monitoring the performance of your vehicle to provide your mechanic with as much information as possible when describing the issue later on. Consider the speed you are driving when the noise starts to become apparent. Do you notice the noise between 40 to 50 mph, 60 to 70 mph, or is it there always?

In addition, try to identify which part of your car the noise is most likely connected to. For example, it can often be easy to differentiate wheel and tire noise compared to engine noise. Keep a record of all symptoms that you notice, as this will be very helpful to the mechanic that inspects your car.

car motor

Humming Noise in Car Getting Louder at High Speeds: 6 Things to Check

Before you can resolve the issue with the humming noise in your car, you should check the components that its most likely connected to. 

Cars can develop a humming noise shortly after routine maintenance or it could be caused by wear and tear over time. I find it’s best to go through a process of elimination by checking each of the following components in your vehicle.

Uneven Tire Wear

The most common reason for the humming noise in a car is uneven wear in tires. The tire tread on your car should be wearing out evenly and gradually over time.

If a tire starts to get worn down unevenly, road noise is generally the first thing that people will notice. Uneven tread wear can be caused by one of the following reasons:

  • Over or underinflated tires 
  • Improper wheel alignment 
  • Worn out suspension

The good news is that you don’t need to be a mechanic to identify if this is the root of the problem. All you need to do is inspect each of your tires while looking for signs of uneven tread wear. If the noise is coming from a specific tire, I suggest checking there first.

Once the uneven tread wear has been identified, fixing the issue is very straightforward, but it will require the replacement of the worn-out tire.

Damaged Wheel Bearing 

The wheel bearings in your car may be damaged or worn out. This is something that should happen gradually, with wheel bearing replacements only being required every 25,000 to 30,000 miles.

However, it can happen prematurely due to dirt, mud, and debris contaminating the grease in the bearing. As soon as the bearing is damaged, it will start to make a humming noise when you drive at high speeds, with the noise becoming increasingly louder the faster you drive. 

With that said, you can differentiate a damaged wheel bearing from other potential causes by paying attention to when the noise becomes more obvious.

Damaged wheel bearings tend to make a grinding and humming noise when you corner. Drive your car in a safe environment and turn the steering wheel slightly while listening for noise changes. 

If the wheel bearing is the problem, the humming noise will become louder while steering. In addition, as the symptoms become more severe, you may hear the grinding noise get more noisey.

Heavy Duty Tires

Heavy-duty tires that are designed for off-roading and winter driving are notoriously loud. This is due to the tires having large tread blocks that generate noise when you drive with them on standard roads, with the humming becoming louder at high speeds.

Humming noise in car getting louder with speed

If your vehicle is equipped with heavy-duty tires, it’s safe to say that the road noise is probably coming from them. This is not something that you can fix, as this is a standard symptom of all heavy-duty tires.

I find the best way to avoid this issue with heavy-duty tires is to swap them out for a standard set when they are not needed.

Exhaust Issues

Your vehicle’s exhaust system may be behind the humming noise. There are various components connected to your exhaust that can create humming and rumbling sounds, which usually become apparent when there is a leak in the system. 

Given that a leak can be connected to many different parts of the exhaust system, you should consider getting a second opinion from a professional mechanic before you proceed with repairs.

Transmission Issues

The worst-case scenario for the humming noise in your vehicle is due to potential transmission failure. This is an early sign that there is something seriously wrong with your car’s transmission, and you should avoid driving your vehicle if this is the problem.

You can differentiate transmission issues from other potential reasons for the noise by listening to the pitch of the sound and where it’s coming from. If it’s coming from the transmission, you should hear a low-pitch hum coming from under your car while you drive.

The only realistic way to approach this is to see a professional mechanic to have them run further diagnostics and repairs.

Key Takeaways

  • The humming noise in your car is likely connected to uneven tire wear, a damaged wheel bearing, heavy-duty tires, exhaust system issues, or transmission issues. 
  • Pay attention to the humming noise and note all symptoms of the sound so you can provide your mechanic with detailed information.
  • You should resolve the humming noise ASAP when you first notice it, given that your vehicle may not be safe to drive.