Clunking or knocking noises can be very disconcerting for any driver to hear while they are going down the road. While these noises may be a symptom of some different issues, all are usually related to a suspension component that has failed. When a suspension component has failed, the ride or the vehicle may be altered. If the failed component is not dealt with, it can lead to increasingly difficult and dangerous problems.
How this system works:
Your vehicle’s suspension system is designed to minimize friction between the tires and the road, ensuring a comfortable ride for you and your passengers. Many of the components that may cause a clunking or knocking noise are not only a part of the suspension, but help control the steering of the vehicle. Any issues regarding the steering or suspension of the vehicle should be looked at by a mechanic as they will only become worse over time.
Common reasons for this to happen:
Bad Ball Joints: Ball joints connect the vehicle’s wheel hubs to the rest of the suspension components. Depending on the vehicle, one or two ball joints per wheel and may or may not be load bearing. If a ball joint is beginning to fail, you may notice a clunking noise coming from the front wheels. This clunking noise will become louder and more frequent over time. You may also notice that your steering has been affected by the bad ball joint, potentially causing vibration in the steering wheel.
Bad Sway Bar Link: A vehicle’s sway bar or anti-roll bar, helps reduce body roll while cornering. Sway bars can help keep a vehicle from rolling over when going around a sharp corner. If the sway bar breaks or is damaged it may produce a clunking or knocking sound, especially when going over bumps. Your vehicle may also had more difficulty handling when the sway bar is damaged.
Bad Tie Rods: Tie rods connect 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 worn or loose, they may produce a clunking noise. Worn tie rod ends may also cause more play in the steering wheel, making turning more vague.
What to expect:
A top-rated mobile mechanic will come to your home or office to determine the reason for the clunking or knocking noise from the wheels. The mechanic will then provide a detailed inspection report outlining the reason for the noise and the cost of any repairs that need to be made.
How it's done:
Telling a mechanic about any unusual sensations, in addition to the clunking or knocking noise, you may have observed, will help him or her understand what went wrong with the vehicle.
The mechanic will begin by lifting the front of the vehicle off the ground and shaking the front tires to check for play. If there is play in the front tires, the mechanic will suspect bad ball joints. The mechanic will then remove the wheel and the control arm(s) in order to access the faulty ball joint. He or she will then remove the old ball joint and replace it with a new one. The mechanic should also ensure that the new ball joint is properly lubricated in order to ensure longer life.
If the mechanic suspects that the sway bar has gone bad, the mechanic will begin by examining the sway bar bushings. If the entire sway bar appears to be in tact the bushing may cause the clunking noise. The mechanic will then replace the bushings and the sway bar if necessary.
If the mechanic suspects the tie rods, he or she will examine the tie rods for damage. If the tie rod end had become worn or loose, the mechanic will remove it and replace it with a new one. The mechanic will also ensure after installation, that the new tie rod end is properly lubricated.
In all repairs, the mechanic will make sure after completing the necessary repairs that the car handles properly. He or she should ask to test drive the vehicle to ensure this.
How important is this service?
Suspension and steering components that have gone bad will only get worse over time. If you notice that your car is not handling well or that it has started producing a clunking or knocking noise, you should have it inspected by a mechanic. Issues with suspension and steering components could also lead to other issues, like prematurely worn tires. Being vigilant about repairs to these components can help ensure long-life for your vehicle.