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What's to blame for my car's humming front end?

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DEAR TOM AND RAY:
I HAVE A 1985 PLYMOUTH RELIANT WITH 25,000 MILES ON IT. MY PROBLEM IS THAT I HAVE A HUMMING NOISE IN THE FRONT WHEN I DRIVE. ONE MECHANIC SAYS IT'S "TIRE NOISE," THE OTHER MECHANIC SAYS IT'S THE "WHEEL BEARING." WHAT SHOULD I DO?
ED

RAY: YOU NEED TO FIND A MECHANIC WHO'S WILLING TO SPEND SOME TIME GIVING YOU AN ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS, ED. A GOOD MECHANIC WILL PUT THE CAR UP ON A LIFT AND SPIN THE FRONT WHEELS BY HAND WITH THE ENGINE OFF. IF HE CAN HEAR THE NOISE WITH THE TIRES OFF THE GROUND, THAT'S PRETTY CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT THE TIRES ARE NOT GUILTY.

TOM: IF HE DOESN'T HEAR ANY NOISE WHEN HE SPINS THE TIRES BY HAND, HE CAN THEN TRY ROTATING THE TIRES--MOVING THE FRONT TIRES TO THE BACK AND VICE VERSA. THEN, WHEN YOU DRIVE THE CAR, YOU CAN SEE IF THE NOISE MOVES WITH THE TIRES. IF THE NOISE MOVES TO THE BACK, IT'S TIRE NOISE. IF IT STAYS IN THE FRONT, IT'S PROBABLY THE WHEEL BEARING.
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