By September 27, 20066 Comments Read More →

4X4 Jeep Cherokee Noise In Front End – and Tires Are New

Reader Question I have a 1999 Jeep Cherokee 4X4. It has 107K in it. Ever since it passed the 80K mark, it has developed a hum in the front end that has gotten worse and worse over time. I recently had 4 new tires put on and I had the u-joints replaced in the front end when they put the tires on. It improved the noise slightly but obviously that wasn’t the problem…. Any suggestions on what I should try next?? thanks

Hi Mike,

Does this hum noise get louder the faster you drive? My first suggestion is ALWAYS check the tires, especially in 4X4 vehicles with more aggressive tire patterns. If you have a non smooth, non highway tread on your tires….it WILL make noise. Since the noise did change some with the new tires, it leads me to believe the problem is in the type of tread on the tires….probably more of an off road tread than a highway type tread you would find on a normal 2WD Jeep with standard radial tires….right??

The only other thing that might cause your noise would be the front….or rear differential. Noises can be tricky to determine where they come from…front or rear. You might want to take a test drive on an large open vacant parking lot and try this – get the vehicle up to the speed where you hear the noise, turn off the engine (don’t turn the key all the way back or it will lock the steering wheel) and let the vehicle come to a coasting stop by itself without the use of the brake.

This will help eliminate other noises like engine and transmission and will let you hear the noise better. See if you can tell if it really is coming from the front of the vehicle…I usually hang my head out the window so I can hear outside the vehicle.

I would do this on concrete and then on asphalt to compare the noise on different surfaces…if the noise is different…its gotta be a tire noise, since that is the only thing touching the surface. If the noise is the same, It could be from a noise differential gear or bearing, you should have both differentials checked and make sure they are full of fluid.

The BEST way to check the differential for noise is to run the vehicle in gear in 4X4 mode while it is on a lift in the air. You can then take a stethoscope and listen to the differential covers.

I wrote this awhile back – it might also help you determine if you do have a noisy differential

Car Repair


Austin C. Davis

Reader Follow up

Im almost positive its not the tires, and it does get louder as you pick up speed…it gets pretty bad at 65 or tires are not overly aggressive treadwise and I know it’s the front end not the rear…so it must be that front differintial.

Mike ….

If you can get the vehicle up in the air, and engage the front tires at 65 mph while on a lift…you can listen to the differential. Don’t try this at home with jack stands!!! Overhauling a differential can be expensive, and I have heard some loud noises coming from them…that have been that way a long time. So, you might not have to run right out and repair it.

Lastly, drive 65 in 4×4 mode…give it gas then let off the gas pedal…if it is the differential you should hear a change in the pitch of the noise…since you are applying pressure to the gears then letting off.

I have used an over the counter differential additive to help quiet some noisy gears…it helped some, but hopefully protected the gears and bearings from future wear.

Keep me posted as to what you find.


Austin C. Davis

Posted in: Front End Problems

6 Comments on "4X4 Jeep Cherokee Noise In Front End – and Tires Are New"

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  1. Vikk N says:

    Hello All,
    I have a 2001 Cherokee 60th Anniversary Sport with 98,000 miles that has never been offroad. I have new BF Goodrich Long Trails T/A 235/70/16 (Street Treads) I had the same noise I thought was in the front. I had Mopar check it out twice but come up with nothing. I also changed U joints and checked fluids. Well driving in Colby Kansas 4 hours from Home I pull over to get gas, I stop and then take off at the pump I broke the Pinion gear in two pieces. The enter bearing was bad and the outer bearing was good including the pinion seal. This could have been really bad since this locked up the axle and distroyed everything in the axle.

    This axle was the Dana 35C model.
    I replaced it with a 1990 Dana 44 with Disc Brake Convertion. Complete rebuild.
    Dana 35 is a very light and weak axle including the housing.
    Chrysler 8.25 is also much better.

    This seems to end some of the noises now I would guess the front wheel bearings need replaced. That is this weekend project.

    Hope this helps

  2. bryan langston says:

    i know for a fact its not the tires

    but i did change the right hub assembly did i not put the alex back in right cuz i have oil leaking out the axel housing by the u joints for the 4×4 do i need to take the bell housing off and get the seal on the inside lined up again

    wat do i do

  3. Bryan langston says:

    I know for a fact it’s not the tires. It’s something in the axel

    And I did changs the right hub assembily and now my Axel leaks oil all the time and everytime I park it did I not place the axel right when I put it back together

  4. bryan langston says:

    i have a 1989 jeep cherokee 193K im not sure if my 4×4 is locked in all the time when i have it in i have this noise comming from my front axel i thought it was my right whwdeel berings but i changes them and the noice didnt seem to help it sounts like the tire is about to fall off but there is no filling in the stering wheel from that kind of action i drive it on smooth pavement and u can here it at about um 25 mph and gets louder the faster u go and as soon at u let off the gas it gets louder and that cound be the diff having preasure making noice right i hope u can help me i really need to find out this problem i dont wanna drive my jeep because im affrade im going to really make things worse

    • admin says:

      I would first rule out a noisy uneven tread tire making this noise. 90% of the time an uneven “cupped” tire was the culprit of noises like this. Maybe move the front tires to the back and see if the noise changes before you run out and buy new tires. 🙂 the more aggressive the tread pattern….the more opportunity for noise. An all season highway tread will be the quietest.

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