Clunking noises are irritating and potentially dangerous, and should always be checked. They vary from relatively harmless hubcap rattles to more critical issues with suspension and steering parts. Unfortunately, there are many possible reasons, and some are hard to see with the vehicle stationary. A test drive is nearly always needed.
Worn shocks and struts often makes noises, and their state of wear should be seen from a profound lack of damping, allowing noticeable rocking and bouncing motions when the vehicle is moving or a pronounced clunk whenever going over bumps.
Engine mounts can wear and create engine movement – and noise – during power off and on movements; but not so much over bumps. Steering parts, however, can make noise over bumps, and these can be inspected by turning the wheel vigorously from side to side while the car is stationary.
There are rubber bushings planted at sway-bar and control arm mounts, and these can wear and develop slop and noise. One way of finding control-arm bushing wear is to apply the vehicles’s brakes firmly with the engine idling, then cycle the transmission through from Park to Drive and reverse repeatedly while listening for noises.
Common reasons why this happen:
- Worn out and damaged struts
- Worn out and damaged strut mounts
- Worn out control-arm bushing
How it is fixed:
The mechanic will check the entire front suspension system and likely test drive the vehicle.
How important is this check?
Since the reasons for undercarriage noises are many and varied, and because there may be rust or mechanical damage at the root of this issue, we strongly suggest that you have the vehicle checked by an expert technician as soon as possible.