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1988 Plymouth Horizon:
Whirring Noise on a Curve

By
Alex Steele
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Question:

 

I have an '88 Plymouth Horizon with 82,000 miles on it. Just recently, I started noticing a really strange noise. Usually I can hear it between 40 and 50 mph but only while I'm on a curve to the left. When the car is going straight or to the right, the noise is gone. The only word I can use to describe the sound would be "whirring."

 

Answer:

 

It seems like you're describing a typical noisy wheel bearing, where the noise will increase, decrease or disappear as weight distribution is shifted at the wheels. That's what you're doing when banking on a curve. A bad tire can make similar noises, but it's usually more consistent and doesn't change so dramatically. Get the car to a mechanic. The wheel bearings are fairly important seeing they are what keep the wheels on the car.

 

First, your mechanic should put the car up on a lift and rock each wheel to make sure that none are about to fall off. Then perhaps remove the wheels and rotate each bearing by hand, checking for any roughness or binding. Followed up by a complete inspection of the front end to be sure everything else is copasetic. After that, it's just a matter of playing it by ear, literally. The mechanic has to determine which bearing is bad by listening. That sounds easy, but it's not. It's no problem to tell whether the bad bearing is front or rear, but figuring out which side it's on can be kind of tricky.

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