How to Troubleshoot Rubbing Sounds on Tires

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Your vehicle's tires provide the contact patch needed to get the power from your engine to the ground. Although it may sound simple, many things can go wrong with them. Custom modification, or worn or bad shocks, can cause rubbing sounds. Fortunately, they're easy to troubleshoot.

  • Check the tire compound clearance on your vehicle. Place your hand between the top of the tire and the wheel well. There should be at least 2 inches of clearance to prevent rubbing. If there isn't, and you notice tire rubbing while going over bumps or while hitting potholes, it is likely that your shocks are not stiff enough to prevent the suspension travel causing the body to come in contact with the tire. You'll need to either replace the shocks or raise the vehicle back to its factory original height.

  • Turn the steering wheel all the way to the right. Check the clearance of the front of the tire against the inside of the wheel lining, the tie rod, and the steering knuckle. If it is hitting any of these components, your tires are either too large for your vehicle and you need smaller tires or your vehicle's camber or toe are out of alignment and must be adjusted.

  • Turn the wheel all the way to the left. Check the clearance of the back of the tire against the inner wheel lining and the control arms (both upper and lower), as well as the steering knuckle. If the tire is touching any components, have the alignment checked or the tire replaced with a tire with a thinner contact patch.

Tips & Warnings

  • For specific information on your vehicle's original tire specifications, consult the particular vehicle's manual (see Resources).
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