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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My wife came back from a shopping excursion complaining that her car was "louder" than normal. I took it for a spin and it sounds like the noise is coming from the front wheels.

The noise starts at around 30 mph and seems to be a constant humming noise regardless of speed. It sounds like something is rubbing against the wheel or the wheel well is rubbing against the tire. It does not seem to change pitch with speed, but in our neighborhood, I couldn't get it past 50 mph.

I put it on the jack with a buddy and checked the obvious:

Tires have <10k miles on them and she drives mostly city miles at moderate speeds. Clean tread, no odd wear.

Exhaust sounds normal at idle and when revved to 4000 RPM in Park.

Transmission shifts normal in auto and shiftronic modes. so it isn't a high-rev issue.

It just had an oil change.

Tires are seemingly properly inflated.

Lug nuts are tight.

It MIGHT need front brakes, but wouldn't that be a squeal or grinding sound on stopping, not a humming or vibration sound at speed?

There has always been a weird thunk when when taking the car to either steering lock.

Its a 2006 SLK350 with 79k miles.

Any ideas? And when do you worry about changing out the front suspension?

Could it be a wheel bearing?

Thank you.
 

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My 1983 240 just started doing this tonight, about two hours ago, when I hit the onramp at the beginning of my 30mi commute home. Mine is a droning sound seemingly from the right front wheel (I'm on a set of new, high quality tires). There are some hills on the way home, so I had a chance to let the car coast, shift between 3 and 4, and to see if brake application had an effect. As far as I can tell, the sound has nothing to do with anything except wheel rotation. The "droning" sound increases with increased speed, decreases when the speed falls off, regardless of whether or not I'm in gear, applying the brakes, or giving it fuel. So I'm going to guess it's the wheel bearing. But I wanted to post a reply and be in the thread for any responses, in case one of experts on here wants to chime in.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Wheel bearing seems to be the consensus here, on another board and among my friends. I guess we're taking it in this week.
 
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