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Hey all,

I've been a lurker for the most part (contributing to the occasional post, but mostly just looking at all the archives and resources), however my 2013 is having an issue I'd really appreciate the experts' feedback on.

During the past week, a friend and I took a roadtrip from Detroit, MI to Denver, CO. We drove straight through both ways with minimal stops (pretty much just for gas). We also *may* have been going *slightly* over the speed limit through many of the vast expanses of nothingness through the middle of the United States. I mention this because I believe it may have something to do with the problem. While out in Colorado, we took the Volt to all of our destinations, including Pike's Peak and Mt. Evans (using Mountain Mode the entire time, and I'm glad I did!) The car was doing great averaging about 32 mpg (no charging opportunities, no problem!). When we finally got back to Michigan after driving for hours on end at a high speed in 100*F weather, upon exiting the freeway, I heard a loud growl or rumble coming from the passenger side wheel. It varies in pitch based on speed (higher speed = higher pitch), and does not matter if the engine is running or not. In addition, I also attempted to coast and shift into neutral to see if the issue is in the transmission, but it made no difference. My first thought is the wheel bearing. The car has 120,000 miles now, and I suspect that the high speeds combined with the high temperatures combined with hours on the road may have lead to the bearing's demise. When I got home, I jacked up the car and felt for any slop in the wheel, and there was none. It still tracks straight and the tires have no signs of anything wrong. I also noticed if while driving I "roll" the vehicle by quickly pulling to the left (putting more weight on the passenger side), the noise becomes more intense, and nearly disappears if I go to the right. Before I go out and order a new wheel bearing, is there anything else I should check to confirm it? Thanks everyone for all your feedback! I've learned so much about this car through the archives on this site and is much appreciated!
 

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Hey all,

I've been a lurker for the most part (contributing to the occasional post, but mostly just looking at all the archives and resources), however my 2013 is having an issue I'd really appreciate the experts' feedback on.

During the past week, a friend and I took a roadtrip from Detroit, MI to Denver, CO. We drove straight through both ways with minimal stops (pretty much just for gas). We also *may* have been going *slightly* over the speed limit through many of the vast expanses of nothingness through the middle of the United States. I mention this because I believe it may have something to do with the problem. While out in Colorado, we took the Volt to all of our destinations, including Pike's Peak and Mt. Evans (using Mountain Mode the entire time, and I'm glad I did!) The car was doing great averaging about 32 mpg (no charging opportunities, no problem!). When we finally got back to Michigan after driving for hours on end at a high speed in 100*F weather, upon exiting the freeway, I heard a loud growl or rumble coming from the passenger side wheel. It varies in pitch based on speed (higher speed = higher pitch), and does not matter if the engine is running or not. In addition, I also attempted to coast and shift into neutral to see if the issue is in the transmission, but it made no difference. My first thought is the wheel bearing. The car has 120,000 miles now, and I suspect that the high speeds combined with the high temperatures combined with hours on the road may have lead to the bearing's demise. When I got home, I jacked up the car and felt for any slop in the wheel, and there was none. It still tracks straight and the tires have no signs of anything wrong. I also noticed if while driving I "roll" the vehicle by quickly pulling to the left (putting more weight on the passenger side), the noise becomes more intense, and nearly disappears if I go to the right. Before I go out and order a new wheel bearing, is there anything else I should check to confirm it? Thanks everyone for all your feedback! I've learned so much about this car through the archives on this site and is much appreciated!
I am not a mechanic; when my Saab 95 was getting up in mileage I had the same symptom. It turned out to be the right front wheel bearing. It may be because our road system is such that we make many more right turns than left. Much of the weight of the front of the vehicle is shifted to the right wheel when turning right. It was easy for the service technician to hear the sound coming from the failed bearing with the passenger window rolled down and slowly turning the steering wheel to the right, as if making a right turn, at fairly low speed ~ 15 MPH. You should rule out whether the sound is coming from the right brake pad and rotor rubbing.
 
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*All the following observations pertain to the ELR, not the Volt*

I test drove 5 ELRs prior to purchasing. Every single one had a FE growl that was very disturbing. When I drove the ELR I ultimately purchased (14k miles), I asked the dealership to check alignment prior to the sale, because of the audible "growl" (which changed with wheel speed, not engine speed)
After a minor FE adjustment, the growl was gone. I subsequently learned that the ELR, with the 20" tires (OEM Bridgestone Potenzas) is susceptible to FE tire noise if the alignment isn't just right. Also, if the alignment is "off", the front tires become compromised and noisy.

If I were you, I'd rotate tires, front to rear, and see if the noise goes away, or moves to the rear. It's possible that your drives up Pike's Peak and Mt. Evans might have compromised your tires in a way that you can't see. You'll know more once you've rotated the tires.

Good luck!
 
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Wheel bearing symptom. Wheel bearings seem to be one weak point. Sparkie mentions in one of his Youtubes I believe it is he replaced these 4 or five times in the 400,000+ miles. Because of his high mileage usage he paid for the part one and just labour thereafter. There are YouTube videos of changing these. Easier than I thought.
 
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Noticing the OP's car has 120k miles, bearing is probably the problem, but...I'd check the front tires for uneven wear. I've driven Pike's Peak/Mt. Evans several times, front tires take a beating, and I still wouldn't be surprised if the tires are compromised.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wheel bearing symptom. Wheel bearings seem to be one weak point. Sparkie mentions in one of his Youtubes I believe it is he replaced these 4 or five times in the 400,000+ miles. Because of his high mileage usage he paid for the part one and just labour thereafter. There are YouTube videos of changing these. Easier than I thought.
I figured it was the wheel bearing. I usually do my own car repairs and maintenance, however the newest vehicle I've owned that I've worked on up until this point was a 2000 Jeep Cherokee. Actually changing out the wheel bearing should be a fairly straightforward process.

Just to confirm before spending $75 on a wheel bearing, as soon as it stops raining I plan on rotating the tires just to be safe. Prior to the trip I had the car aligned and the tires rotated and balanced, but with the type of driving I was doing I wouldn't be surprised if they took a beating.
 

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I figured it was the wheel bearing. I usually do my own car repairs and maintenance, however the newest vehicle I've owned that I've worked on up until this point was a 2000 Jeep Cherokee. Actually changing out the wheel bearing should be a fairly straightforward process.

Just to confirm before spending $75 on a wheel bearing, as soon as it stops raining I plan on rotating the tires just to be safe. Prior to the trip I had the car aligned and the tires rotated and balanced, but with the type of driving I was doing I wouldn't be surprised if they took a beating.
If you change the hub bearing, use the new axle and nut that are out.
 

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If you do one side I definitely would consider doing at least both fronts and maybe even the rears.
 

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Definitely the wheel bearing. A tell-tale sign is the noise getting worse when turning (with momentum) one way and almost disappearing when turning the other way.

Agree with other posters that if you are going to do one, you may as well do the other.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Definitely the wheel bearing. A tell-tale sign is the noise getting worse when turning (with momentum) one way and almost disappearing when turning the other way.

Agree with other posters that if you are going to do one, you may as well do the other.
Yeah. I tried swapping the tires but it made no difference whatsoever. I went ahead and ordered a new wheel bearing, but I’m planning on ordering a second one this afternoon. If the first one failed, the other one can’t be far behind having travelled the same distance. I couldn’t find any guides specifically for the Volt on here, however it seems to be nearly identical to the Cruze. I’ll try to make a guide with pictures when I replace it since I’m sure many others will eventually have to do this. Thank you everyone for your help!
 

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Yeah. I tried swapping the tires but it made no difference whatsoever. I went ahead and ordered a new wheel bearing, but I’m planning on ordering a second one this afternoon. If the first one failed, the other one can’t be far behind having travelled the same distance. I couldn’t find any guides specifically for the Volt on here, however it seems to be nearly identical to the Cruze. I’ll try to make a guide with pictures when I replace it since I’m sure many others will eventually have to do this. Thank you everyone for your help!
Actually, with my Saab 95 I had a recurrence of the right front wheel bearing after the first wheel bearing replacement but never had a problem with any of the other wheels. It could have been that the replacement bearing was defective or of inferior quality. You'll probably have many trouble free miles once you replace the wheel bearing on your Volt, might not ever have another bearing issue.
 

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Yeah. I tried swapping the tires but it made no difference whatsoever. I went ahead and ordered a new wheel bearing, but I’m planning on ordering a second one this afternoon. If the first one failed, the other one can’t be far behind having travelled the same distance. I couldn’t find any guides specifically for the Volt on here, however it seems to be nearly identical to the Cruze. I’ll try to make a guide with pictures when I replace it since I’m sure many others will eventually have to do this. Thank you everyone for your help!
Actually, with my Saab 95 I had a recurrence of the right front wheel bearing after the first wheel bearing replacement but never had a problem with any of the other wheels. It could have been that the replacement bearing was defective or of inferior quality. You'll probably have many trouble free miles once you replace the wheel bearing on your Volt, might not ever have another bearing issue.
That’s true, and according to the laws of the universe, if I don’t replace the other side, I’ll have guaranteed problems, but if I do, it’ll never have problems. Being in Michigan with the roads as bad as they are, it’s cheap insurance. I bought the car in October 2017, and I’ve already put 22,000 miles on it since then. Fortunately, it’s all electric due to charging at work, school, and home, but the suspension doesn’t notice the difference. Overall I’m very pleased with the car, and 120,000 miles on a wheel bearing isn’t too shabby.
 

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Yeah. I tried swapping the tires but it made no difference whatsoever. I went ahead and ordered a new wheel bearing, but I’m planning on ordering a second one this afternoon. If the first one failed, the other one can’t be far behind having travelled the same distance. I couldn’t find any guides specifically for the Volt on here, however it seems to be nearly identical to the Cruze. I’ll try to make a guide with pictures when I replace it since I’m sure many others will eventually have to do this. Thank you everyone for your help!
The probability of the other one being on the verge of going out is nonsense. There are cars out there with hundreds of thousands of miles with the original bearings still working perfectly well. The idea of two defective ones on one vehicle is a stretch but not impossible.
Just keep that extra one stashed away and see if you ever need to install it.
 

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I just did a right front bearing on my CTS on Friday. 140000km. The other ones are fine. No need to change one until bad.

BTW, getting a bearing out of the spindle can be difficult. Especially if you've never done it before.
 
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The probability of the other one being on the verge of going out is nonsense. There are cars out there with hundreds of thousands of miles with the original bearings still working perfectly well. The idea of two defective ones on one vehicle is a stretch but not impossible.
Just keep that extra one stashed away and see if you ever need to install it.
I agree. It's like always having an umbrella in the car, it never rains!
 

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Ha, I grew up right in the same area near Romeo. Lakeville actually. Still visit my parents there on the weekends.
LOL I've probably driven past you a few times. I'm in Troy/Auburn Hills most days for work and school, so I drive kind of in that direction. I don't see many volts up by me, and my nearest public charger is 20 miles away (Partridge Creek Mall)!

As for the other wheel bearing, I think I'll just wait it out instead of preemptively replacing it, but keep it in the garage ready to go. From my research, it looks like the surface between the wheel bearing and the car is steel and aluminum, so I'm already prepared to fight with it for a while to get the old one off (and anti seize on the new one to spare myself in the future).
 
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LOL I've probably driven past you a few times. I'm in Troy/Auburn Hills most days for work and school, so I drive kind of in that direction. I don't see many volts up by me, and my nearest public charger is 20 miles away (Partridge Creek Mall)!

Probably more than a few times if that's the case ;) I currently live and work in Auburn Hills and recently graduated from OU. Lots of public charging down here, but yeah basically nothing up in the Romeo area. Or even Oxford/Lake Orion, for that matter. Which seems ironic considering the Volt (and now the Bolt) was manufactured there.
 

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Probably more than a few times if that's the case ;) I currently live and work in Auburn Hills and recently graduated from OU. Lots of public charging down here, but yeah basically nothing up in the Romeo area. Or even Oxford/Lake Orion, for that matter. Which seems ironic considering the Volt (and now the Bolt) was manufactured there.
Small world! I have two more semesters at OU then I'm graduated myself! Looking at Plugshare, I guess there's a new Chargepoint located in Imlay City off of I-69, but the only time I go up there is when I go to Canada. OU has 8 chargers total, and it seems to be enough to support everyone (so long as I get there relatively early) but unfortunately at work in Troy we have two chargers that support a building of 800 people, with about 7 people at my location having EVs and more by the month.
 
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