I drive a 2003 Hyundai Sonata that has about 165,000 miles on it and has had no significant performance issues during its lifetime. Over the last month or so, I’ve been noticing a loud roaring/buzzing-type sound coming from the engine area at higher speeds - it’s pretty much nonexistent at 25 mph or below, but it becomes progressively louder from that point on the faster I go. It’s not related to acceleration - it increases at the same rate whether I’m speeding up fast or slow, and it drops off as I reduce speed. If I take my foot off the gas while at speed, or throw the transmission into neutral, it doesn’t change at all. It sounds like it’s coming from the driver’s side of the engine compartment, and there’s a vibration associated with it that I can feel in the steering wheel and the gas pedal. I thought it might be a tire-related issue at first, but I’m driving on four tires that are all less than 90 days old and which have all been inspected and balanced after this issue started.
The one thing I’ve found that has an effect on the sound is this - it disappears whenever I’m turning left. In a left turn, or in a leftward curve on the freeway, or if I take my hands off the wheel and let the car move forward of its own accord, the car sounds exactly like it did before this problem started. As soon as I start to turn the wheel even a bit to the right (which, since the car naturally veers to the left with no hands on the wheel, I have to do often), the sound starts up again.
I’m not very mechanically savvy myself - I’m lucky if I can use a pair of jumper cables without starting a fire - and I know it’s hard to diagnose an engine based on just a description, but I’m hoping someone out there might be able to hazard a guess as to what’s causing this noise and what if anything I should do about it. I haven’t noticed any performance-related issues since the noise started - the transmission shifts just fine, it accelerates the same as it always has, the steering is as responsive as it’s always been, the engine temp is normal, the RPMs are the same as they’ve always been, the check engine light hasn’t lit up - but it just sounds so ugly that when I’m on the freeway something horrible is going to break and all hell is going to break loose. I’m planning on replacing this car before the end of the year in any event, but I can’t afford to be without my wheels for even a few days, so if this is something that’s probably going to require urgent attention I want to know sooner rather than later.
Anyone have any idea what might be going on here, and where I might go to have it checked out and fixed?