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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Having a tough time figuring out a rear passenger side noise. Sounds like brake rubbing. Squeals at low speeds. Squeal increases when I put on the brake. Gets louder on a left turn. Quiet on a right turn. Changed out the brake pads and drums. Thought maybe the parking brake was sticking so I adjusted it pretty loose to see if the noise changed. No difference. Brought it to a tire and wheel guy. He says everything looks just fine and he didn’t see anything that looks likely to be causing noise. He adjusted the brake for me to make sure. It is sometimes louder first thing in the morning when I first get going. Gets quieter as the car warms up. Sounds exactly like squealing brakes. Any ideas how I might troubleshoot this?
451. 2013 model with drum brakes and stock steel wheels if that makes a difference.
 

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Sounds like the wheel hub might be going. I’ve heard them squeal, drone and sound like a low-flying aircraft. In lots of cases, you will hear the noise increase or decrease during turns, depending on the direction you are steering.

One caveat... the smart’s short wheel base can make sounds from the front sound like they are coming from the back and vise versa. I replaced the wrong in my ‘08 thinking it was the front, but ended up replacing the back.

Fronts are press-fit bearings. They can be replaced without replacing the entire knuckle assembly, but make sure the shop uses the driving pins to press the bearing in place. Pushing on the bearing during assembly will cause damage.

The tears are easier, with bolts holding the hub in place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I’m going to jack it up and push and pull on the wheel to look for looseness. Another trick is to remove the back brake hub and put it on backwards (gives you something to grab) so the brakes won’t rub and spin the wheel to listen for grinding noise. Does that sound like the right track to figure this out?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Narrowing it down to the wheel bearing; Unhooked the parking brake to make sure it wasn’t dragging. The drum is cool to the touch so I’m thinking the brakes aren’t dragging. Part is only 40 bucks or so. Going to order and replace to see if that helps
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just to update and close this down it ended up being front brakes. Since the front is so close to the back on this thing it was sounding like the rear. I even had someone ride with me and stick their head out the window and they came to the same conclusion that it was a rear wheel noise. The front brakes were squeaking. They still had plenty of pad life left. Changed out the pads and rotors on the front and now am good. On the plus side I now have new drums, rotors, and brakes on all 4 wheels. :)
 

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My original front brake pads use to sing, when they got heat up. While driving on the highway. The metallic, in the pads, were rubbing on the grooves On the rotors. Like a recorded player. It sounded like birdies sing. It would stop, when I applied the brake. Start up again, after driving a little longer. Drove me crazy. I mentioned it to the smart service manager, he said that was a common occurrence with metallic pads. Never noticed on any other car I’ve owned in the past. Sitting closer to the front wheel, in a smart car. Engine sound, in the rear.

switch over to ceramic pads, noise gone. No more dirty brake dust.
 

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I came upon this thread because my electric Smart is making a grumbling noise in the rear, only during acceleration and deceleration. No noise cornering or at speed, just when torque is there. I thought it was CV axles and swapped them out and the noise is still there, can wheel bearings develop bad spots front and rear on the races and not top and bottom? I also suspected that the gearbox could be the problem and changed the gear oil, not a single metallic particle found.
 
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