Continental Pure Contact LS singing

Aug 30, 2021
I reside in SE Michigan, and have a 2019 Honda Accord LX with 17" wheels.

At 20k miles, the stock Hankook Kinergy GTs were getting loud and spinning easily.

I was looking for a good balance of quietness and the ability to handle our rapid weather changes.
Indeed, we can hit 100 in the summer and 0 in the winter.
Our snowfalls aren't necessarily huge, but about 8 years ago we had 92" total snow.

At 52, I've never felt the need for snow tires; all-seasons have been fine.
In the past, we used Michelin Defenders (nice tires), and at one point had a set of General Altimax RT43 on the old '03 CRV (also nice tires).

I read many reviews and chose the Continental Pure Contact LS 225/50 R17 98V XL. Two weeks ago, I got them from Discount Tire.
The reviews highlighted my needs: quiet, damped ride, good handling in snow, decent tread life.

For reference, the Accord is not known to be a super quiet car; it is quieter than my wife's '17 CRV, but louder than my 2009 Impala.
Also, the Accord is a very light car, so I wanted a tire with just a little bias toward snow handling.
I run the tires at the recommended 32 all around.

Anyway, the new tires handle beautifully. Curves and turns are smooth and confident.
They have a nice blend of mellow luxury softness, with sporty-ish handling and grip.

They damp the impacts VERY well. The Hankooks had a super loud resonant thunks over expansion joints and ridges.
They handled torrential rain nicely.

They are quieter than the Hankooks, but they have a surprisingly loud tread noise--a singing--especially noticeable on glass-smooth asphalt.
It is a kind of white noise with some tremolo warbling.

I'm not pleased.
I will contact both Continental and DT. I'm guessing that they will do a re-balance.

I know some tires break in, becoming quieter (I think the Michelins did, but can't recall for sure).
Does anyone know if the Contis tend to need break in?

If the noise is inherent, I have 60 days where I can choose to replace the tires with the same model, or choose another Continental.
Any recommendations?

DT has:
-TrueContact Tour. Might be firmer tire, maybe a bit less grippy in winter. Seems like a step down from the Purecontact. It is also not available in V speed rating (I prefer sticking with the manufacturer's recommendations...but, I might consider a lesser rating).
-Extreme contact DWS 06 Plus. Highly considered these for their good all around capabilities, but people were mixed regarding noise and flat-spotting.

If I cannot get a quiet Conti, I'll sell them and get another brand.
I'll take a loss to get a quieter tire.

Non-Continentals I considered:
-Michelin Defender T+H. Strong contender due to past experience. But, not available in V speed rating.
-Altimax RT43. Owned by Conti, seems like a good tire, but many reports of moderate tire/tread noise. The old CRV was a noisy car, so I couldn't get a sense for quietness.
-Michelin Cross climate 2. Checks a lot of boxes. But pricy, and many reports of tread noise.
-Nokian Encompass AW01. Looks like a very capable tire, but not many reviews.
-Pirelli Cintaurato P7 All Season Plus. Some good reviews, would need to research.
-General Altimax 365AW and Nokian WRG4. Maybe too biased toward winter, probably not quiet.
-Wild card: Bridgestone Quiettrack at Costco. Don't know much about this one... pretty good reviews.

Does anyone know if the Contis tend to need break in?
Put these on my wife's car and can't say the sound changed, i.e. broke in. Thing is, the BFG Comp T/A 2 whatevers that I replaced were horrendously loud so these PC tires were like a night and day difference (improvement). They could have sang but it would still be better.

See what Continental says - it could be just one bad tire. That doesn't mean try and figure out which it could be as they'll likely just say to replace all (4).

You mention the Extreme Contacts and while I saw them listed when I was tire-shopping, my impression was they leaned more towards the sporty side. My car is a G35 and they are kinda popular on that model. They're also more expensive... Cost was a factor for me.
They will want to steer you towards another continential tire but if none meet your requirements will let you replace with a different brand.
Have a set of the PureContact LS on the wife’s Camry and they’ve been flawless. Probably the quietest tire we’ve ever had on that car. These tires are asymmetrical. Are you sure they’re mounted right?
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These tires are asymmetrical. Are you sure they’re mounted right?
Interesting, I didn't realize they were like that. Definitely worth checking.

I know some tires break in, becoming quieter (I think the Michelins did, but can't recall for sure).
Does anyone know if the Contis tend to need break in?
Make sure one or more aren't mounted backwards, inside-out, ??? (not sure what the term would be). In front of the tire size, it will say "OUTSIDE".
Good call on the mounting direction. I just checked and they all are mounted correctly.

One odd thing I noticed is that the tread picks up and holds rocks like crazy, mostly on the rears.
When I was investigating the noise and inspected the tires, I picked dozens of pebbles from the tread.
I didn't get all of them out, and I doubt that they were the source of the noise...

While driving today, I began wondering if I could have a bad wheel bearing.
I'm not getting any vibration, but the droning reminds me of wheel bearing noise.
The car only has 20k miles, and isn't driven hard or over totally wrecked roads...but, failures happen.

I scheduled a re-balance at DT on Tuesday.
Tires are are a good place to start ruling out causes.

I don't have time to troubleshoot the issue, so if the tires seem good, I'll have the dealer check the bearings.
I'm certain the fronts are covered by drivetrain warranty...not sure about the rears. I may have bumper to bumper coverage...gotta check my paperwork.

My PureContact LS just had to get replaced with 7500 miles on the tires because 2 of the tires got severely out of round. The roadforce numbers were 48 and 38. I watched as they balanced it and the tires looked practically oval. No wonder they were starting to get louder.

Discount Tire replaced them with Michelin CrossClimate 2. So far so good. The CrossClimates are almost silent. I've only put about 20 miles on them, but so far I like them. I expect MPG to go down a bit as they don't seem to roll as freely.
I had the same experience with the DWS06. They were dead silent and a wonderful tire to live with… until 70mph. They had almost no road noise but the singing sprung up and then stood out. It probably wasn’t that loud, but against the silence it was hard. I swapped them at discount tire for the Bridgestone potenza, similar is many regards. More general white noise and also a good handling tire with softer compound, but no singing.

they looked at me like I was crazy at DT. I wonder if it maybe a specific frequency the chassis doesn’t isolate very well in this car. It was our Lexus GS.
Quick update.
I had the tires rebalanced.
Not sure if they did a road force balance, but I thought I heard the machine spooling up several times right after my car was brought in (I had to deal with an important call, so my attention was divided).

He did not mention lbs, but said 2 tires were imbalanced, one borderline, the other just over an ounce off, which could certainly cause an issue.
Unfortunately I ended up being in a hurry, so I wasn't able to explore further.

Well, I think they are a bit better, but the tires are flat out loud.
If they are truly balanced within spec, then the noise is inherent to the tire (tread interplay with the road surface) or the car has a funky bearing (kinda odd for 20k miles).

Though the tires are known to be pretty quiet, I'm leaning toward tread noise.
It is a distinct subtly oscillating white-ish noise, accompanied by high frequency vibration which I can feel (though the noise and vibration may be unrelated, I didn't notice it before the new tires).
It reminds me of a milder version of my brother's old Jeep with aggressive tires.

I've not had a chance to put the car on stands, but I'll try to get around to it soon...or just have the dealer rule-out bearings; they are familiar with the car and what is likely to fail.
I'm familiar with the usual tricks of wiggling the wheel, rotating the tire while feeling the spring and loading the car in turns to listen/feel for a change (my car had no change in sound), but early bearing wear can be quite subtle. I'm a former wrench, but haven't been in the field since a pro might be best.

I really appreciate the input from everyone.

Definitely have the bearings checked. While it's not common, they most definitely can fail at any time. At your mileage, it would almost certainly be just (1), if this is the case of a failed one.
The PureContact LS tires are dead silent. I had them in my plug-in electric hybrid and I could not hear any road noise when in electric mode. Maybe you got some duds (COVID has messed with supply chains so who knows). Also is there any cupping on the tires? My Ford hybrid cupped a set of $800 Michelins within 6K because of its -2.4 degree rear camber and cruddy dampening. Those things were humming loudly.
Definitely have the bearings checked. While it's not common, they most definitely can fail at any time. At your mileage, it would almost certainly be just (1), if this is the case of a failed one.
Funny, as I was driving my son home from taekwondo last night, I was vacillating between bearing and tires... leaning toward bearing.

This probably sounds weird, but I hope it is a bearing.
I think the fronts (not sure about rear) are covered by drivetrain warranty.
And I'm guessing the rears are reasonably easy to replace.
If the problem is tires, I would have to decide on replacements...which may be quieter...or not.

Replace a bad bearing = problem solved.

And I'm guessing the rears are reasonably easy to replace.
I've changed rear bearings on a couple different Hondas but nothing as new as yours though I don't the concept has changed much. On the ones I did, yes, it was relatively easy.