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Droning noise

5482 Views 26 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  mowmow
I appreciate that this topic has come up before but (a) the posts are quite old and (b) there doesn't seem to have been any resolution. I have a 2016 Q5 Black edition on 20" rims which I've owned for around two years. From the off this car has demonstrated a droning sound which seems to be emanating from the front suspension (though it's difficult to be specific). The characteristics are similar to those others have observed, namely: it's of a fixed frequency (200Hz), amplitude varies with speed (getting louder with speed) and also road surface ( the concrete section of M25 is horrific). I've tried all the obvious suspects - wheel bearings have been checked, I've tried three brands of tyre, the last being a set of Eagle F1s with 'sound comfort technology', I've tried different tyre pressures and lived through different wear levels - all to no avail. It doesn't matter if the car is accelerating or slowing (with or without the brakes being applied). I've owned a lot of Audi's in my time (80, 90, 100, A4, A6, TT) and the odd BMW and have never experienced anything like this. I can live with the usual road noise, even at high levels, since that tends to be broad spectrum noise - this is a distinct resonance at a fixed frequency and under certain conditions can be quite loud. Clearly interaction with the road seems to be a provoking factor but striking the tyre with a rubber mallet (with the car stationary obviously) doesn't elicit the noise, nor does rapidly vibrating the tyre with a heavy duty 'message gun'. So, whilst wheel rotation and road interaction seem critical, it's hard to believe the vibration induced by driving over a relatively smooth surface at 30mph is inducing more vibration that what I've emulated under static conditions. I'm at my wits end. Are there other fellow sufferers and, more importantly, has anybody actually solved this problem??
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Welcome to our forum :cool:
Good luck
Welcome to the forum :cool:

Dont have this issue myself and run 21" tyres. Have you tried going to an Audi dealership and going on a test drive with them to see if they can identify the issue? Also maybe a video recording could be useful for others to try and diagnose the issue from the sound. My first thought while reading your post was change the tyres or the pressure (should be as per the door sicker), but then you say you have already tried this. Is the sound audible outside of the car, with the window open, or if you drive past someone? Are you sure the sound is coming from the wheels?

I wouldn't worry too much about concrete motorway sections they are always terrible, but it should be quiet on smooth tarmac.
Have you checked the exhaust, baffles and mountings?
Thanks for the responses. In respect of your questions, the noise can't be heard outside the vehicle (though I've only tried that by driving through a tunnel with the windows open). I can't be certain the noise is coming from the wheels, all I can say is that it only occurs when the car is in motion and is sensitive to road condition and speed - engine state, steering angle and application of brakes doesn't affect it. In addition to the noise, faint vibration can be felt through the steering wheel which corresponds to the droning (which I've taken to imply it's related to the wheels/suspension rather than the exhaust). A previous member described the noise as like 'someone blowing over the top of a bottle' and that is a very apt description. I have taken it to a number of Audi dealers but they've either been unable to reproduce the sound on a road test or been unable to rectify it (without proposing a theory as to the cause). I've not checked the exhaust and associated mountings (I have no facilities and little knowledge when it comes to car mechanics I'm afraid). My current theory is that this could be tyre cavity resonance - an article I found at Effectively Reduces Tire Cavity Noise - Press Release - TOYO TIRES GLOBAL WEBSITE ( describes this as a distinct resonance peak occurring at between 200Hz and 250Hz depending on tyre size. The noise I experience is at approx. 200Hz which would fit this description well. (Tyre cavity resonance is also characterised as being similar to someone 'blowing over a bottle' which again fits the bill). What I don't understand is why (if it is indeed what I think it is) is it so prevalent on this vehicle - if this was a general issue with Q5s there would have been much more coverage on this (and other) forums. It's not subtle and ruins what would otherwise by an excellent (and otherwise very quiet) vehicle. I have an audio file of the sound, recorded from the drivers position, but this site won't allow me to attach an mp3. I'll see if I can get this uploaded to YouTube and post the link. Thanks again for the responses.
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I would still look at the security of the exhaust baffles and heat shielding. A loose baffle can generate all sorts of noises and under certain circumstances vibrations can be felt. Tyre cavity noise is a new one on me but I have never seen it reported on the Q3 or Q5 forums.
Here's a video of the noise. Hope this helps.... Audi Q5 Road Noise/Resonance - YouTube
I have just listened to your video and I am now slightly confused. The sound consists of 3 primary frequencies and a harmonic. I cannot work out which of these frequencies could be defined as normal and which could be defined as the problem. Lets try and isolate the noise. Does the noise change dependant on the seat being occupied, plus driver. Is there a speed where the noise is negated/removed? What is the minimum speed where it starts? Your answers will define the next set of questions.
The noise is most noticeable in the front of the car and is marginally louder for the driver than the front passenger. It can appear at speeds of around 20-30mph (albeit quietly) and depends on road surface (by which I mean the general 'roughness' of the surface, not the presence of potholes or obvious defects). At speeds in excess of 70mph the noise is prevalent on all surfaces (but gets louder if the surface is poor).
Have you swapped the front wheels/tyres with the rear and checked again? Have you had the front offside bushes checked? If you bounce the front suspension on the offside and nearside does it behave about the same?
I've not tried swapping the wheels but I did have the Audi dealer check the front suspension (so I assume they looked at the bushes). I'll try bouncing the car as you suggest.
Hi Erik
First, I have the exact same NOISE problem (I call it tinnitus) with my 3 month old Audi Q5 Hybrid, with a detailed explanation as follows:
The car is an Audi Q5 50 TFSI Hybrid from 1 May 2022 with 19" wheels and tyres, Michelin latitude sport 3 235/55 r19 101v.

My previous car was a Skoda Kodiaq with Hankook tires that did NOT make noise, so I have had these wheels on the Audi, which did not help the noise. Audi has also had the car in the workshop and tried with other wheels and tires, which also could not remove the noise, after which Audi asked the technical department at Audi in Germany, where the answer came last week, that it was a completely normal noise in this car that did not could be removed.

My experience of the howling noise is that it is generated by the tires as it varies a lot depending on the asphalt you drive on and on a stretch of motorway near, Greve in Denmark, there is black noise-reducing asphalt on which the noise is largely gone inside the car. Another experience I have is that when I sit in the back seat, the noise is less than when I sit in the front seats, so maybe the noise is the most annoying at the front wheels.

I have asked Audi if it could help to cover with noise reduction plates under the wheel arches, which I have not received an answer to, does anyone have experience with this?

I have also thought about installing an electronic ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) system in the car, which can remove the frequency of the noise that makes noise, does anyone have experience with this?

Audi writes that they are working to reduce the noise in their cars, but here I think they have forgotten their Q5, which destroys 80% of the joy of this new, otherwise lovely car, so I could actually find myself jumping back into the Skoda Kodiaq .
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Hi Michael, does the noise occur when running on battery only and/or hybrid? If it occurs on battery only then it cannot be a function of the exhaust. There are tyres with internal foam noise reduction. This tends to be used on wide low profile tyres. In the next week or so I am getting a new Q5 55 tfsi e so then I can constructively contribute to this thread.
I have had cars rolling in NEUTRAL where the noise is the same and there is also no difference whether I drive with the petrol engine or with the electric engine.
The noise starts at approx. 30 km/h and is fairly similar regardless of how fast I drive.
Hi Michael, many thanks for your post. I think you are confirming my fear that this is a tyre cavity resonance (which may be combined with a sympathetic resonance in the suspension system which may make the Q5 particularly susceptible which would explain why changing tyres seem to have little effect). I would agree that this significantly reduces the pleasure of driving this car. I had hoped that it would be reduced by fitting noise reducing tyres (I'm using the Eagle F1 with claim to use 'Sound Comfort Technology') but the problem persists. I'll continue to research this topic to see if there is anything I can do about this (and to rule out any other possible cause) - I'll update this forum with any developments. Thanks to all for your contributions, it's very much appreciated.
I fear it might be your drive train / transfer box?
I fear it might be your drive train / transfer box?
Could that be ruled out by rolling down a long hill in neutral at 20-30mph, if the drone noise still persists?
Why have I not heard about this before on UK supplied cars. Our roads are shot to pieces.
Could that be ruled out by rolling down a long hill in neutral at 20-30mph, if the drone noise still persists?
He said he had same noise when coasting in neutral. This would rule out engine exhaust and gearbox. The drive train and transfer box would still be turning.
Why have I not heard about this before on UK supplied cars. Our roads are shot to pieces.
Not a common problem.
Cartoon Motor vehicle Automotive lighting Sharing Automotive design
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I have been tracking this issue down since I bought my 2015 Q5 S-Line used with 40k miles in 2017. This model has the rims shown below and the tire size is 255/45R20.

Wheel Tire Automotive tire White Hubcap

The car had fresh Continental SureContact RX tires when I received it and it didn't take long for me to notice the noise. I did some research and found some tire industry tech papers on Tire Cavity Resonance, but nothing out there to address it. I have since tried Cooper (my son worked there) CS5 Ultra Touring with no significant reduction.

Having had a major flat tire on one of my Coopers while they were also fairly well worn out, I am now on my third set of tires. Here is what I have chosen:

Michelin Primacy Tour A/S 105V XL (Michelin part# 24551)


Some notes:
  • These all-season tires have a 55k mile warranty and incorporate "Michelin Acoustic Technology", which is specifically designed to address tire cavity resonance. See link below:
  • There are other versions of the Primacy Tour A/S that DO NOT have the acoustic technology or have a shorter warranty, which is why I provide the part number above.
  • I am going to repeat the above caution, as I can't even make a link to the correct tire part number (24551). There are other tires by the same name that will not solve this issue while also providing the 55k mile warranty. An hour plus on the phone with Michelin has confirmed this.

Here's an image of the foam strip inside my new tires:

Tire Automotive tire Wheel Blue Black

I don't know how that strip effects repair of the tire should one get punctured, so I made sure to purchase the road hazard warranty.

Long story short, after 75k miles of dealing with this issue, I am thrilled as I can be with these tires - especially for the way I drive (not race) the Q5. I feel (but maybe it's a psychological effect) like the tire is giving me a "boatier" ride, but they are the closest thing to silent that I have ever owned. My Q5 is now the quietest to drive of those I own instead of easily being the loudest.

Finally, I think other manufacturers may be doing this as well (it's pretty new technology - the above tire was new last December), and it may be rooted in EV's since they are otherwise so quiet, making any tire noise stand out.
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