50th Year Anniversary

Unusual Suspension Sounds & What They Mean


Have you ever been driving along, only to be startled by strange sounds coming from your vehicle's suspension system? Understanding what these noises indicate can help you address potential issues before they escalate into costly repairs. That's why we will share five common noises your suspension system might make when it's having problems.


1. Clunking or Knocking Sounds


One of the most common suspension noises is a clunking or knocking sound, often heard when going over bumps or rough roads. This sound could indicate worn-out or damaged suspension components such as ball joints, control arm bushings, or sway bar links. Ignoring these noises could lead to further damage and compromise the safety and stability of your vehicle.


2. Squeaking or Creaking Sounds


If you notice a squeaking or creaking noise when turning the steering wheel or going over bumps, it could be a sign of worn-out or dry bushings in the suspension system. Over time, the rubber bushings that cushion the suspension components can degrade, leading to increased friction and noise. Regular lubrication or replacement of these bushings can help restore smooth operation and eliminate the noise.


3. Rattling Sounds


A rattling noise coming from the suspension system could indicate loose or worn-out components, such as strut mounts, shock absorbers, or stabilizer bar links. Loose or damaged parts can cause excessive movement and vibration, resulting in a rattling sound while driving. It's essential to have these components inspected and tightened or replaced as needed to prevent further damage and ensure a safe driving experience.


4. Grinding or Metal-on-Metal Sounds


If you hear a grinding or metal-on-metal sound when driving, particularly while braking or going over bumps, it could signal worn-out brake pads or damaged brake rotors. However, it's essential to rule out suspension-related issues, such as worn-out wheel bearings or damaged CV joints, which can also produce similar noises. Prompt inspection and repair are crucial to prevent further damage to the suspension and braking systems.


5. Whining or Humming Sounds


A whining or humming noise from the suspension system could indicate issues with the wheel bearings. Worn-out or damaged wheel bearings can cause excessive friction and vibration, resulting in a noticeable noise while driving. Neglecting these symptoms can further damage the wheel hub assembly and compromise vehicle safety. Timely replacement of worn-out wheel bearings is necessary to restore smooth and quiet operation.


Most Problematic Suspension Component


Shock absorbers or struts in vehicles equipped with strut-type suspension are the most common cause of problems. These components are responsible for dampening the up-and-down movement of the suspension and ensuring a smooth ride over uneven surfaces. Over time, shock absorbers can wear out due to continuous use and exposure to road conditions, leading to symptoms such as excessive bouncing, increased body roll during cornering, and decreased stability and control.


Having suspension issues? Contact Ripley's Total Car Care, and we will schedule you for a visit ASAP! We can also handle any other repairs or maintenance your car might need.

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