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Humming/Whirling Noise: Wheel bearing OR Diff?

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Problem background: regardless of which gear I am on (2nd,3rd,4th, 5th or even on neutral), when I hit 70Km/h and above, there is a humming/whirling noise coming from the front. if i steer slightly towards left, the noise goes away. The noise increases while sheering right.

Now, Fellas!

I took this to one mechanic and he reckons it’s the front right wheel bearing and/or hub.

I took my car to another mechanic. He checked and thought the problem is within diff/gearbox assembly. He thinks it’s a damaged bearing within the diff. and Not in the wheel bearing/hub.

I am confused.. which one is it?

I bought the car about a month ago privately and just told by my mechanic that the car was previously in a major accident (he looked underneath the car). well, i did REVS check and the car wasn't on the list.... but anyways, now i gotta resolve this!

do i need to buy the whole diff/gearbox assembly? or is it possible to fix only the problematic bits? which would be cheaper without sacrificing safety/reliability?

Brand new or second hand?

where can i get a good bargain?

I would really appreciate your suggestions on this subject matter!!! Please HELP!!!!!!

It’s a 2002 corolla Levin ZZE122 manual

Help! Help! Help!!!

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yeah what make is your tyre ? it could be that but i have a strong feeling that theres something wrong with the diff.

a friend of mine with an 06 holden sv6 had the same problem and ended up replacing his diff.

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Here's my 2 cents. Mechanics, being one myself can be a very expensive guessing game at the expense of the car owner. As BKS said could be as simple as tyres or as complicated as a FWD diff. Before you get any mechanic to rip into anything.. have a fiddle around yourself. In most cases when a bearing has failed you can feel play and/or vibration or hear a dry or failed bearing when u jack the car up and turn the wheel by hand. Do some research on this website and google for symptoms of failed components or causes of humming.

Just to give you an idea of how broad the possibilities are, i had a similar problem on my sisters astra and it turned out to be air in the p/steer system. At low speeds no matter which way the wheels faced everything was normal, but as soon as you reach a speed of 90km/h the car would whine very loudly.


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hmm, I would be better of starting with the least expensive one: Tyre rotation, yea?

by the way, I mentioned that the car was previously in an accident...! And the car leaks engine oil too (the size of two 50 cents area overnight, not much).

bad bad experience!!!

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your problem sounds like the right hand wheel bearing when your turning left your loading the right hand side of the car so the noise is louder cause there is more load on the right hand wheel bearing, turning right you are unloading the bearing and the noise goes away.

youll also notice that if its the wheel bearing the noise wont change on varying road surfaces where as if its a tyre noise as the road surface changes the noise will change as well.

these model corolla's also have a tendency to feather the rear tyres as well that can cause a tyre noise as i just mentioned the bearing you wont really be able to tell if its worn very just by wobbling the wheel as the sealed bearings these things wont have freeplay unless they are really bad as in about to fall apart they may have a bit of a rumble in them though when you spin the wheel youll feel it.

hopefully this set you in the right direction and the oil leak....not normal if you want you can bring it past my shop ill look at it free of charge and check it to confirm my theory im only comming to this conclusion based on what youve written

doesnt bother me if you dont want me to fix it lol! my boss still pays me either way

Edited by T.J

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Hi TJ,

sounds good!!! whereabouts in Hornsby are you?


My tyres are the factory ones: Michellin Energy.

car has only 34000kms on the clock

Scary stories from the USA:

i work in merrylands goodyear autocare just drop past during the week or before 1 on saterdays and ask for tim.

the michellin energy's seemed to be the ones prone to getting flat spots on the rear tyres only on the inside though so check by running your hand around the tyre if it feels lumpy towards the inner edge of the tyre has flat spots

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Guys, I think I may have resolved the problem (what would i be without you!)

As BKS mentioned that this might as simple as the tyres and TJ sed that the Michellin Energys are known to have issues, I included "a rotation of the tyres" as the 1st thing on my diagnostic flowchart. As i did the rotation this afternoon, the whirling noice somehow changed its charactaristics. ie. noise doesn't kick off at around 70km/h anymore, souce of noise moved from front to somewhat back, steering left or right has insignificant impact on the noise intensity etc. So I think (and i hope i m right) it would be the tyres. I still have to do some more trials at highspeed to be completely satisfied!!!

But like i said, What would I be without you guys!!!!!

As an added bonus, I also identified the source of engine oil leak! its from the oil sump seal (I believe there is no gasket, right?). so it would be easy to fix.

Now, the next thing is the drivers side headlight! it has condensation during rain or carwash. I have checked for any cracks or holes and found none. do you think its the seal?

btw TJ, which one is it (just in case if I still needed to drop by)?

1. Goodyear Autocare Bankstown

326 Edgar Rd, CONDELL PARK, NSW, 2200

Phone: (02) 9790 3919

Open: Mon - Fri 8am - 5pm, Sat 8am - 12 noon

2. Goodyear Autocare Smithfield

26 Victoria St (Cnr Little St), SMITHFIELD, NSW, 2164

Phone: (02) 9609 4477

Open: Mon - Fri 8am - 5pm, Sat 8am - 12 noon

3. Goodyear Autocare Auburn

2A Silverwater Rd, AUBURN, NSW, 2144

Phone: (02) 9737 9308

Open: Mon - Fri 8am - 5pm, Sat 8am - 4pm

sorry for this long post fellas. And thanks for your patience!!!!

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