How it works:
Your cars suspension system is made to minimize friction between the tires and the road, ensuring a comfortable drive for you and your passengers. Many of the parts that may cause a clunking or knocking noise are not only a part of the suspension, but assist control the steering of the car. Any problems regarding the steering or suspension of the car should be looked at by a mechanic as they will only get worse over time.
Common reasons why this happen:
- Bad Ball Joints:Ball joints connect the vehicle’s wheel hubs to the rest of the suspension parts. Depending on the car, one or two ball joints per wheel and may or may not be load bearing. If a ball joint is starting to fail, you may notice a clunking noise issuing from the front wheels. This clunking noise will get louder and more frequent over time. You may also observe that your steering has been affected by the bad ball joint, potentially creating vibration in the steering wheel.
- Bad Sway Bar Link:A car’s sway bar or anti-roll bar, helps to reduce body roll while cornering. Sway bars can help keep a car from rolling over when going around a sharp corner. If the sway bar breaks or is bad it may produce a clunking or knocking sound, especially if going over bumps. Your car may also had more difficulty handling when the sway bar is completely worn.
- Bad Tie Rods:Tie rods links a vehicle’s steering rack to the steering arm. This helps translate the turning of the steering wheel to the direction of the tires. When a tie rod end is damaged, worn or loose, they may give out a clunking noise. Worn tie rod ends may also cause more play in the steering wheel, making your turning more vague.
- How it is Repaired:
Telling an expert mechanic about any unusual sensations, in addition to the clunking or knocking noise, you may have observed, will assist him or her understand what went wrong with the car.
The mechanic will start by lifting the front of the car off the ground and shaking the front tires to inspect for play. If there is play in the front tires, the mechanic will suspect bad ball joints. The mechanic will then take out the wheel and the control arm(s) in order to access the faulty ball joint. He or she will then take out the old ball joint and change it with a new one. The mechanic should also make sure that the new ball joint is properly lubricated in order to give longer life.
If the mechanic thinks that the sway bar has gone bad, the mechanic will start by examining the sway bar bushings. If the entire sway bar appears to be in tact the bushing may be the cause of the clunking noise. The mechanic will then change the bushings and the sway bar if necessary.
If the mechanic feels the tie rods, he or she will examine the tie rods for damage. If the tie rod end had become damaged worn or loose, the mechanic will remove it and change it with a new one. The mechanic will also ensure after installation, that the new tie rod end is properly lubricated.
In all kinds of repairs, the mechanic will make sure after completing the necessary repairs that the vehicle handles properly. He or she should ask to test drive the car to ensure this.
How vital is this repair?
Suspension and steering parts that have gone bad will only get worse over time. If you see that your vehicle is not handling well or that it has started producing a clunking or knocking noise, you should have it checked by a mechanic. Issues with suspension and steering parts could also lead to other issues, like prematurely worn tires. Being observant about repairs to these parts can help ensure long-life for your vehicle.
SEE ALSO:CAUSES OF INNER ENGINE NOISE