Mud tires have wide tread gaps, which enables a car to grip uneven surfaces with more power.
Unfortunately, this tread design makes mud tires much louder than regular tires while driving.
Sometimes, even when you don’t have mud tires installed, your car can sound distressingly loud.
Why does it sound like I have mud tires on my car?
A car can sound like it has mud tires when the tires have experienced significant, uneven wear or have loose suspension parts. The loud sound from the tires can also sometimes mean they are simply low on air, but it usually indicates more serious damage and should be addressed as soon as possible.
This happens for a variety of reasons, some of which are possible to remedy with a trip to the auto shop.
It could be that you have older thread on your tires. Old thread indicates it’s time to get new tires.
Other times, the cause of the loud noise may be more serious and require extensive repairs.
Read on to learn more about why your tires may be making a sound like it has mud tires.
Why Does My Car Sound Like It Has a Flat Tire?
Loud tires are one of the most alarming noises a driver can hear.
Some people have even compared the sound of a flat tire to the sound of an airplane taking off because it’s so loud! Often, these sounds mean that your tires have incurred significant damage and need urgent maintenance.
Other times, it’s a natural sound and you need not be alarmed.
Here are a few reasons why your car or truck may sound like it has a flat tire:
- Large Tread – When you have tires with a wide tread, air will get trapped between the grooves and generate more volume as they rotate. If you have intentionally installed tires with large tread, this noise is nothing to worry about and you will grow accustomed to it over time.
- Damaged Bearings – When your front wheel bearings are damaged, metal will grind against metal and create a loud noise. This can cause significant problems for your car; locate the nearest auto repair shop and ask for a safety inspection.
- Lack of Rotation – Tires need to be rotated every 3,000 to 5,000 miles; otherwise, the wear on the tire tread becomes uneven, meaning that the layers of rubber are disproportionate in some places. Be sure to rotate your tires every several thousand miles, or about every six months.
- Recent Rotations – If it has been a while since you’ve had your tires rotated, you may hear loud noises once you do rotate them. This is because the uneven wear on the tires’ tread has increased the rubber friction in abnormal areas. After a few weeks, the sound will die down and you will grow accustomed to the noise and feel of your newly rotated tires.
- Underinflated Tires – When a tire is low on air, it makes a thumping noise as it rotates. Most gas stations have air pumps where you can refill your tires with the appropriate amount of air. Check the vehicle’s owner’s manual or the sticker on the inner frame of the driver-side door to learn the appropriate tire pressure level for your specific vehicle, as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Heavy Acceleration – If you often leave in a hurry, your tires will squeal and make a loud noise. This is merely due to an abnormal amount of rapid friction, and can be resolved by slowing down. If you want to prolong the life of your tires (and your car in general) avoid flooring it; instead, gradually build up speed.
- Abrupt Stops – Similar to rapid acceleration, if you stop abruptly by slamming on your brakes, you will likely hear noise from the tires. For optimal wear on your brake pads and tires, apply gradual pressure to the brake pedal and give yourself plenty of time and space to slow down to a stop.
- Rapid Turns – Taking turns too quickly can make the sides of your tires scrape against the road and produce abnormal sounds.
- Excessive Weight – If your car is full of people and/or other heavy objects, the weight of the load will apply significant pressure on the frame of the vehicle. This can cause your tires to sound flat as they groan under the weight, but only in extreme circumstances will it cause a tire to actually pop or lose air.
- Weather Wear – Sometimes, when a car is regularly parked outdoors, the tires will begin to crack and leak air. When the weather is extremely hot or cold, the rubber will become weathered. While this is to be expected to some degree, be careful not to leave old tires on your car for too long after they have begun to crack. The last thing you want to deal with when you’re on your way somewhere is a flat tire.
- Poor Alignment – If your car sounds like it has a flat tire and it keeps veering toward the right or the left, chances are the wheels are not properly aligned. This will make it difficult to accelerate and even more dangerous to drive. Take your car to the nearest mechanic as soon as possible for a realignment.
If your car still sounds like it has a flat tire and none of the above reasons seem feasible, pull over and step out of your car to check each tire.
It is worth stopping to check each wheel because driving on a flat tire for any significant distance will significantly damage the vehicle’s bearings.
Carry a spare tire, a car jack, and an air pump if at all possible.
If and when the time comes, you’ll at least be prepared.
Can a Bad Wheel Bearing Sound Like a Flat Tire?
A bad wheel bearing will make a variety of noises, such as rattling, popping, clicking, humming, or squeaking, but it will rarely make the same thumping noise as a flat tire.
When the car has a bad wheel bearing, the steering wheel will begin to vibrate and the vibrations will increase or decrease in direct relation to the speed of the vehicle.
The sound will also be louder when the vehicle is turned.
The sound can disappear and return on and off, but even if you think the problem was somehow resolved, the best course of action is always to take the vehicle to an auto repair shop.