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By Tire Agent Staff
February 04, 2022
If you're looking for the quietest tires, this post covers factors what makes tires noisy and explains what to look for in noise-reduction tires. We also include a section that explains what might be causing certain noises to emit from your tires.
Have you ever driven in a Toyota Prius? As you know, it was the world's first mass-produced hybrid electric vehicle. What you might not know is how quiet they ride. If you've ever been inside one or even next to one while its engine is running, you'd swear it wasn't.
That's because the Prius, like most electric and hybrid vehicles, are nearly silent when in operation. If you do hear noise from electric vehicles, it might be coming from the tires.
This is why we have been seeing more demand from owners of these fuel-efficient cars for quieter tires.
But it's not like electric vehicle owners invented the quiet ride. Luxury automobile owners, commuters, and soccer parents have been asking for decades for quiet tires to make for more enjoyable rides.
The last thing you want to disturb your peaceful road trip are tires that make too much racket. But what makes a tire noisy? Well, there could be a couple of things going on.
Tire tread is a significant factor in the amount of noise they make. The noisiest tires have large treads with wide and deep grooves, which allow for more air to be trapped between the grooves. This results in more noise produced by the tires.
Here's why: Air gets into the tire's grooves and compresses between the tire and the road's surface. When released, the air produces a sound, and the process continuously repeats when you drive. The more space between a tire's tread, the more trapped air, making the tires sound louder.
Tire manufacturers try to alleviate noise by putting different tread patterns close together. Each pattern will produce a different tone when air is released. The intent is to generate a neutral white noise.
Another factor in noisy tires is the quality of the materials, which typically is reflected in how much they cost. Cheaply made tires aren't built with the highest quality of rubber compounds. And manufacturers invest more into the tire's performance than keeping them silent.
If your tires are louder than expected, you could be dealing with more significant problems. Here are a couple of noises that could indicate unsafe conditions:
Is a humming sound coming from your tires? It could mean faulty wheel bearings or uneven wear on the tires. Continuing to drive on humming tires could be risky. It's best to have your vehicle's wheel bearings inspected by a technician ASAP.
You might have uneven wear on your tires because you didn't rotate them properly. Preventing uneven tire wear is as simple as having your tires rotated regularly. You also have to be careful with some high-performance tires with asymmetrical treads that are specified to be only on the right side or left side of the vehicle. Putting lefties on the right and vice versa will make your car sound off-key.
When your tires make squealing sounds, this could mean they are underinflated. Your first move is to check the air pressure to ensure they're correctly inflated.
If air pressure isn't the issue, it could be a more significant problem like improperly aligned tires. Take your car to a professional and get the tires aligned to fix the squealing problem.
You might have a foreign object in your tire. You can do a slow roll and have someone watch the tire to see if there is something like a large rock wedged between the treads. Make sure the vehicle is in park and the engine is off before you try to remove the foreigh object. If it's a bolt, nail, or sharp object, do not try to remove it, as it may have punctured the tire. Take it to your auto shop, where they can remove it and evaluate whether the hole can be patched.
The womp-womp noise could also be from a broken or separated belt, underinflated tires, or bad wheel alignment. Time for a visit to your auto shop.
Weird sounds when you turn your vehicle could mean a few things. You could have a broken or damaged CV (constant velocity) joint, bad struts, or something wrong in the steering components of your vehicle.
All of the above mean a trip to the auto mechanic. Don't procrastinate; call them now.
Something less serious is a loose hubcap. If you hit a lot of potholes or bumps the wrong way, it could loosen your hubcap and cause a rattle, which is amplified when you turn. This isn't as much a safety hazard for you as it could be for someone else. If your hubcap flies off while you're driving, it could cause danger to other drivers.
When your vehicle goes faster, you will have more noise. So, expect some increased noise from your tires when you're cruising at highway speeds. If the loud noise is sudden and louder than usual ... you know what we're going to say: Have it checked by your auto mechanic.
You bought new tires and you're shocked at how loud they are when you drive on them for the first time. It could be that your new tires have an aggressive tire tread, like a mud tire or off-road tire. Once you drive on them for a while, the rubber heats up and softens, which should reduce the road noise somewhat. If a stranger noise is coming from your tires, take it to your tire installer for a quick check to see if there are underlying issues with your vehicle.
Now that you know what causes tires to be noisy let's look at tires built to make less noise.
If you want a quieter ride, you'll need to get tires featuring noise-reducing technology. One trick that's up tire manufacturers' sleeves is implementing sound-absorbing foam in the tire's interior. This is done by adding a thick layer of foam insulation to the tire's inner lining as either one continuous piece or several smaller sections.
Tire makers can add insulation after the initial manufacturing process, so this type of noise-reducing tire is identical to its non-noise-reducing companions. That's why you'll typically see a logo indicating noise-reduction technology etched onto the tire's sidewall to distinguish between them and their standard tire counterpart.
Here are some other features to look for that help reduce tire noise:
This is a list of passenger tire tread types from loudest (📢 📢 📢 📢 📢) to quietest (📢):
For passenger vehicles, these are some of the best tires for comfort and noise reduction: Kenda Vezda ECO (KR30), Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus, Michelin Primacy MXV4, Lexani LX-NINE, and Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring.
This is the list of light truck and SUV tire types from loudest (📢 📢 📢 📢 📢) to quietest (📢):
For light trucks, pickup trucks and SUVs, these are the best tires with low road noise: Sailun Terramax H/T, Kenda H/T2 (KR600), Michelin Defender T+H, and Michelin Premier LTX.
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