Ford E-250 tie rod end.

Suspension sounds and what causes them

In Uncategorized by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Is there a new sound you have started to hear when driving? It could be coming from your car’s suspension system.

Many parts make up this system and eventually wear out from daily use.

Different components and conditions can result in certain noises and symptoms.

Suspension sounds may be anything from a squeaking sound to a knocking or popping noise.

Different suspension sounds you may hear

Jeep Grand Cherokee tie rod ends.

Tie rod ends

Squeaking noise

If you hear a squeaking sound, there may be a problem with the pitman arms or tie rod ends. 

Typically found on older vehicles and trucks, pitman arms connect with the drag link. Worn tie rod ends and those that are moving a lot can “clunk” as the wheel moves.

Clunking sound

Tie rod ends aren’t the only reason you might notice a clunking noise.

Ford F-150 ball joint replacement.

Ball joint

This sound could also occur if a ball joint slips from the steering knuckle. Idler arms and broken sway bar end links can be behind the sound, too.

Knocking noise

A knocking sound may stem from other components.

Worn control arm bushings on a Toyota Sienna.

Worn control arm bushings

The noise could indicate that you have worn or missing control arm bushings. They usually make a knocking noise as you drive. You might hear a “thunk” when you turn.

Another source of a knocking sound are bearings on strut mounts. These parts can create it when they’re worn.

Fiat 500 worn sway bar links.

Sway bar links

A rattling noise might be related to sway bar links or sway bar bushings when they are wearing out.

Other sounds

Clunking, knocking and squeaking aren’t the only noises that are caused by the suspension system.

A clanking sound might occur with certain setups if they don’t have spring isolators. These rubber spaces, located between the strut and strut mount, are responsible for making sure the coil spring doesn’t move. If the isolators aren’t there and the spring shifts, you could hear clanking while turning.

For other systems, worn coil springs can lead to an occasional popping sound as you hit bumps.

It’s important to note that some noises may appear to be suspension sounds but are coming from a different area of the vehicle.

For example, a wheel bearing that’s wearing out can make a knocking or thumping noise at certain angles. In extreme conditions, a tire with a broken steel belt or something lodged in it can also make noise.

Addressing suspension noises

Whatever the cause of the noise turns out to be, it’s worth looking into.

When you notice a sound that you don’t remember hearing before, have an automotive expert look into the problem soon. 

Taking notes about the kind of noise you hear, when it’s occurring, and where the sound seems to be coming from can help narrow down the search. This could also get your vehicle back to you sooner.

If there’s any other relevant information (even if it seems insignificant), make sure to share that with the repair shop too. It could be the final clue that solves the mystery.

When performing noise diagnostics, our automotive technicians take the car on a test drive. Then – using information provided by the customer – they try to recreate the noise and pinpoint its location.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.