What is a clunking or knocking noise from wheels inspection?
During this service, a mechanic will investigate the vehicle’s suspension system. Your suspension is charged with absorbing force created by driving on uneven roads, and it’s integral to keeping a car in top condition.
A clunking or knocking noise can also come from a vehicle’s steering system, which, like the suspension system, can be seen after a lift raises a car.
Some common components that may cause the noise are as follows:
- Bad ball joints
- Worn sway bar link
- Damaged tie rods
Each of these parts will differ in the cost and time needed for replacement.
How to inspect a clunking or knocking noise from wheels
Before beginning the inspection, an auto professional will ask you:
- When have you observed the clunking or knocking noise?
- In what situations is it most prevalent?
After this quick interview, the mechanic will raise your vehicle and officially diagnose the problem.
If your mechanic suspects bad ball joints
To diagnose this problem, a mechanic will gently shake your vehicle (after it has been lifted), looking for any give in the front tires. If there is, the mechanic will identify the problem as bad ball joints. The next step is to remove the wheels and control arms to begin a replacement.
If your mechanic suspects worn sway bar
A mechanic will investigate your sway bar for signs of damage or rust. If the sway bar looks okay, the clunking noise could result from worn bushings, which are not too difficult to replace, luckily.
If your mechanic suspects damaged tie rods
A mechanic will examine your vehicle’s tie rods for signs of damage or a lack of lubrication. If this is the culprit, the mechanic can perform a quick replacement by removing the damaged tie rod, adding a new one, and ensuring the entire system is properly lubricated.
When do I need to inspect a clunking noise coming from my wheels?
You should get this type of noise inspected as soon as possible. Issues with your vehicle’s suspension and steering can only get worse after you first discover them. So by keeping your eyes—and ears—tuned toward any abnormal sounds, you can help prevent your car from needing more extensive repairs.
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