Why is My Tire Making a Flapping Noise? Expert Insights and Solutions

Noise is common in our vehicles, right? But some of them feel thrilling and the rest are annoying. For instance, the flapping sound from the tires. I have seen many car owners asking, “Why is my tire making a flapping noise?” You may ignore it once or twice, but it can be costly in further future.

Indeed, tire noise is both distracting and concerning. It can increase the overall internal and external noise level of our cars. However, some common reasons for flapping noise are tire design, its damage, and wear patterns. Other causes include wheel alignment and suspension issues and improper tire pressure.

I am here to discuss all the factors why you get flapping tires and their possible solutions. Share a few minutes to read this article. You will surely get benefitted, especially since there will be no unnecessary noise again. Would you do this?

Tire Anatomy or Structure of a Tire

Like human organs, tires are also the organs of a vehicle. And each organ (in this case, tires) has its own structure or components. When we say tire, it has several key parts (1). In this part, I will share a brief about them and their functionalities.

Now, you may ask, why should I know the anatomy? For sure, if you know, you can easily identify the reasons for the flapping noise quickly.

Tire Tread

What we see from outside, like the part of the wheel touching the road, is the tire tread. It offers traction, grip, and stability to drive safely. Depending on different road conditions, the depths and patterns of tread are different. So, it doesn’t matter if we move wheels on wet, dry, or even snowy surfaces.


The way we stand vertically is like the sidewall’s function. It is the vertical section of the tire. And it connects the tread to the wheel. Hence, tires get structural integrity for the sidewall. Also, this component carries some essential information like tire size, load capacity, and speed rating. Sounds interesting?

Belt Piles

Technically, these are layers of fabric or steel cords. These layers boost the tread area to provide strength and stability. Therefore, belt piles can control the shape of tires. Piles are necessary to prevent unwanted flexing. In return, they provide enhanced control and performance.

Body Ply

It is like our skeleton but of course a tire. Manufacturers use artificial fibers (like polyester and rayon) to make body ply (2). Thus, it offers sufficient strength and flexibility to the tires.


Tire bead grips the tire firmly (like an air-tight fit) to the wheel (2, 3). It contains a fine steel wire loop to stay strong and intact.

Inner Liner

We put the air into the tire tube – indeed, it is a normal thing. Hence, the inner liner keeps the air inside car tires (3).

A Brief Overview of Flapping Noise

In short, it is not entertaining! But this tire flapping noise is an intermittent sound. You can often notice it when the wheels are on the move (4). Moreover, you can hear it regardless of whether you are inside or outside the car. There are even cases where this flapping noise invites a vibration. You may feel them in the steering wheel or seat.

When foreign objects are lodged in the tire tread, often, we may hear flapping noise. Sometimes too low tires may slap against the wheel. When you drive in this condition, you may also hear the sound. The rest of the causes are already mentioned. Do not worry, I’ll explain in detail. What you must remind that this noise is not good for tires’ health.

We can categorize tire noise into structure-borne noise.  Typically, around 160 Hz and influenced by tire construction, and airborne noise, usually around 1,000 Hz, is affected by the tire’s tread pattern (5).

What Are the Causes of Flapping Noise from Tires?

So, I have given an intro to tire components and the flapping noise. You can easily understand the causes now. Let me explain them thoroughly. I will also add possible solutions to treat them accordingly.

Tire Design

Tread pattern and air circulation through grooves, with tall tread blocks and large voids can cause flapping noise (6,7).

Then, the tread impact mechanism also contributes to tire or road noise (8). By mechanism, it refers to the interaction between tire tread blocks and pavement.

Road Conditions

Road surface characteristics, like texture and porosity, significantly affect tire/pavement interaction noise (9,10). If you experience a noticeably rougher or bumpier ride than usual, it may also indicate the suspension issues inside the car.

Tire Damage and Wear Patterns

Often, vehicle tires exhibit excessive wear, tread separation, or damage. They may cause a flapping sound, particularly when you drive (11). You can identify this reason by inspecting tires for visible signs of wear. They can be bald spots or uneven tread depth.

If you see abnormal wear, you may need to visit a tire shop for further examination. In that case, you may require replacement tires installation.

Tire Pressure Issues

Incorrect tire pressure, whether under-inflated or over-inflated, affects stability, handling, and tire wear. As a result, you may discover noise issues (12). More precisely, underinflated tires cause flapping noise. In such tires, the sidewall flexes more than usual and causes uneven tire wear.

Overinflated tires may increase the risk of a blowout. However, you should maintain optimal tire air pressure for vehicle safety, performance, and minimizing noise (13).

Misaligned Wheels

Misaligned tires or worn-out suspension components – these can be reasons for unnecessary noises in car tires. Plus, the bad alignment often causes uneven tire wear and compromised vehicle handling. It may increase strain on suspension components (14).

For misalignment, you may call a mechanic to install the tires with the right alignment.

Worn Out Components

What happens if you install new tires, and still hear that flapping sound? Worn-out or damaged parts like bolts, lug nuts, and suspension components can produce noise regardless of new or old tires.

If you are getting unusual noise from tires, you must check those components. Then, you can go for a replacement job if necessary (15).

Wheel Imbalance

An imbalanced wheel means uneven weight distribution around the wheel. It can cause the tire and wheel to wobble. Likewise, the wobbling effect creates a thumping or flapping sound (16).

I have a solution for this issue too. You need to rebalance the wheels. For this, you can take the car to the nearest shop. They may add small weights at specific points around the rim to even out the balance.

Tread Separation and Shifted Belts

Defective construction, overinflation, and impacts from hitting curbs or potholes can lead to tread separation and shifted belts in tires. Gradually, these issues can cause tires to become out-of-round or out-of-balance. In such situations, the tire slapping and tramping noises will appear and increase.

I suggest you replace the damaged tire as soon as possible. It will avoid breeding the issues and the disconcerting sounds (17).

Camber Misalignment

What do you think about camber? Well, it is the inward or outward tilt of the tire when viewed from the front. However incorrect camber can cause uneven tire wear. And when it happens, you will see increased flapping tire noise (18). Again, you may need a professional’s help to align the camber properly.

Incompatible Tire Size and Type

Suppose you want to install new tires. But they are mismatched or of the wrong type and size. As a result, you may face difficulties while installing and fitting the tires. If you still want to use them, you will hear a flapping noise. So, you should not install any incompatible components in your car.

Final Words

Why is my tire making a flapping noise – this is what you have been looking for till now. But now, you know every possible cause of the noise. You should inspect the tire first for the source of the sound. Then, tighten the loosened parts, and repair, or replace the components if they are of no use.

After all, regular inspections and maintenance are to identify and resolve issues. In the case of electric and hybrid vehicles, you will see different tire rotation and wear patterns. They may wear out faster and produce unnecessary noises. So, they need special care from you.

Last but not least, follow the suggestions I have given in this article. Also, use quality components on your car to get the most comfortable ride.

Thank you for your interest!

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