I think its a Wheel Bearing, how do I know?
I started noticing a rotational sound a month or so ago (whah whah whah whah). It sounds like its coming from the front driver wheel. It isnt always there, but its always there when I am turning right or going around a curve to the right, and the sound increases and decreases with speed. Its not super loud as I dont really notice it if the stereo is on or if I am talking to passengers. Sometimes I'll notice it when changing lanes to the right, so I will change back to the left lane and the sound will go away, only to return when I go back to the right. This makes me think its a driver side wheel bearing issue. Now, I am starting to notice it more and more while driving straight, which makes me think its getting worse.
Last summer I did my brakes and then got 4 new Michelin Tires (about 6,000 miles ago), so I dont think it has anything to do with brakes or tires. I recently rotated the tires and the noise is still coming from the same place. The noise doesnt change when braking.
My car is a 2006 RAV4 AWD V6 with 92,500 miles. Very little problems to date. I have owned 4 other Toyota/Lexus cars and my parents/siblings drive mostly Toyota and I have never seen a wheel bearing go out on a toyota so I want to make sure its a wheel bearing before I spend the $$$ to replace it. My dads 2003 Highlander is over 250,000 miles with the original wheels bearings, I had a 97 Lexus with almost 200k with original wheel bearings.
How can I be sure its a wheel bearing issue?