Are you hearing a clunking noise when you’re driving? Don’t worry, you’re not going crazy (well … hopefully not).
Clunking and rattling sounds are one sign you may notice when there is a problem with your car’s steering and suspension.
So, what’s the source of all that racket?
Well, the question of why a car is making a clunking noise isn’t an easy one to answer. Because many components make up this part of a vehicle, the direct cause might be hidden under layers of possibilities.
Possible causes of clunking noises
There are numerous reasons that could be behind a clunking sound.
It may be the result of parts – like strut mounts and bushings – wearing out overtime, due to age, wear and tear, driving conditions and driving style.
Common causes of a clunking noise include sway bar links, which are small links and easier to damage.
Sway bar end links and sway bar bushings are problems that are often misdiagnosed, because they sound worse than they are.
We worked on a Range Rover that had a clunking sound. When working on the vehicle, we found that not only had the ball joint come out of the steering knuckle, but the sway bar end link was broken.
Struts have mounts on the top that can make a knocking sound. The spring typically lasts the lifetime of the vehicle, depending on what model you have. Normally, the strut inside won’t make any noise. Bearings located on the strut mount, however, could make a knocking noise when they wear out.
The issue might also have to do with the drag link, control arms or coil springs. Other culprits of clunking noises are: idler arms, pitman arms – which are part of a drag link-type steering system – and tie rod ends.
What to do if you hear a clunking noise
If you hear an odd noise, you should make a note of what it sounds like – whether it’s a clunking, squeaking, groaning, moaning or popping.
We also recommend that you pay attention to when you hear it, or what you are doing at the time. Are you turning, speeding up, slowing down, or going over a speed bump?
These details can be shared with a mechanic or a car repair shop near you, saving them a lot of time by helping narrow down what’s causing the sound.
Being honest when talking to an automotive professional is also helpful. If you have been in a car accident or hit a curb recently, we suggest you mention it. That may be the clue needed to determine the problem.
Tracking down a sound through diagnostic testing, as well as ordering and installing any necessary parts does take time. So, don’t be surprised if the mechanic or auto repair shop asks to keep the vehicle for a few days.
HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.