4 noises from your car's suspension that could mean trouble

September 22, 2014

Noises from your car's suspension usually mean you're in for a bumpy ride, especially if the issue isn't addressed. But what do these different sounds mean and can they be fixed?

4 noises from your car's suspension that could mean trouble

Most people think of a vehicle’s suspension as a feature that allows you a smooth, comfortable ride. But when your car or truck begins to sound funny as you go over a speed bump or turn a corner, more than just your comfort is at stake. Here’s why.

How car suspension systems work

Attached to your vehicle’s frame are springs that absorb the jolt of the road’s ups and downs.

  • The shock absorbers should dampen the shock of the springs’ bouncy movement when they're in good working order.
  • Around the shock absorber, is a coil spring called a strut. The strut adds to the shock dissipation.
  • These parts work together to deliver a smoother ride and to keep your tires firmly on the road, which is why maintaining the proper tire pressure is also critical. Tires are part of the suspension system, too.

Don’t ruin your tires

One clue the suspension system in your car isn't working properly is an uneven wear pattern on your tires.

  • Shocks in proper working order should be exerting an even amount of pressure across the surface of the tire. If they're not and you notice irregular tread wear patterns, there's a chance you'll have to replace certain suspension parts and wind up buying new tires.

Is your car making these noises?

Many noises can be due to worn or malfunctioning parts and should alert you to potential problems. Don’t compromise your safety by driving around with bad shocks and struts, especially if you hear...

  1. A knocking sound when going over bumps or turning corners
    This likely means your worn-out shocks are causing your coil springs to vibrate wildly against your vehicle’s chassis.
  2. A grunt or a squeak
    On bumps and turns, grunting or squeaking means your front steering mechanism could be wearing out. This could potentially cause you to lose control of your car's steering.
  3. Rusty door hinge-like noises
    Bad ball joints in your suspension have been described as sounding like rusty door hinges when your car bounces up and down or rocks back and forth.
  4. Annoying rattles
    Although they are harder to diagnose, since many parts of the suspension can make this noise as they start to wear out, rattles could be a symptom of something bigger and are worthwhile checking out.

See your local mechanic

Describe any and all unusual noises to your local mechanic if you have any concerns about your car's suspension. He or she can help diagnose the problem much quicker this way.

  • Suspension systems not only are complicated, they’re also crucial to your safety. They help your tires grip the road if ever you encounter slippery surfaces, dangerous driving situations or need to suddenly stop.
  • If you notice any of the above noises as you drive, don't hesitate to visit a repair shop.
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