What’s That Popping Noise in the Front of My Car
It’s common to occasionally hear unusual noises emanating from different areas of your vehicle. You might hear an uncommon noise one time, and then it never happens again. However, if you hear uncommon noises frequently, then its time to have your vehicle checked by an automotive professional. Think of it this way: noises you hear coming from your vehicle are your vehicle’s way of communicating to you that something is wrong, even if a problem isn’t being displayed by your warning lights.
What are some of these nosies, and where might they be coming from?
All front wheel drive vehicles have constant velocity (CV) joints on both ends of the drive shafts. Inner CV Joints connect the drive shafts to the transmission. Outer CV joints connect the drive shafts to the wheels. If you drive a front wheel drive car, and you hear a clicking type noise when you turn your wheels sharply, you are hearing is an CV joint that is in need of replacement. All CV Joints are encased in a special rubber boot (CV boot) which contains grease to constantly lubricate the CV joint. When this rubber boot gets damaged and looses its lubricant, the joint is operating “dry” and wears out quickly. Imagine if your engine didn’t have any oil in it. Before too long, it would quit working. Same goes for your CV joints when they have no grease to lubricate them. The clicking sound you hear is a CV joint ready for replacement.
Without replacement, the CV joint(s) will eventually “freeze in place”, a.k.a. stop working all together, and your vehicle will not operate.
If a broken CV boot is caught early, the CV joint may be saved which will save you a good bit of money. If you are already hearing a clicking noise when you make a sharp turn, it’s time to get your CV joints checked, and replaced as needed.
Clicking from your steering wheel:
If you hear a clicking sound coming from your steering wheel, you might have worn bearings inside your steering column or your vehicle might be low on power steering fluid. If you have power steering and you hear a screeching noise when you turn your steering wheel, you might have a worn power steering belt that is slipping. Your power steering pump might also need to be checked if you hear a “moaning’ type sound when you turn your steering wheel.
If you hear a grinding noise coming from your front wheel or rear wheel area when you apply the brakes, it is an indication your brake system needs to be checked. If it sounds like its “metal on metal”, chances are your brake pads are completely worn out and the metal backing of the brake pads are coming in touch with your brake rotors every time you put your foot on the brake. For older vehicles with drum-type brakes, the same thing can occur when your brake shoes wear to a point where there is no “shoe” remaining, making it sound like metal on metal, which is exactly what it is. Any type of unnatural noise that your vehicle makes when braking needs to be checked out immediately by an automotive repair professional.
If you hear a “thump” type of noise when you accelerate or stop quickly, and it sounds like it might be coming from the engine compartment, chances are you have a motor mount (or engine shock mount) that might need replacing. Motor mounts are generally made of rubber and will wear out over time. When you accelerate or brake quickly, the motor mounts keep the engine from rocking back and forth. If a motor mount is worn out, or loose, you will hear a “thump” or a “thud” under the hood. If you are hearing this kind of noise, it’s time to have it checked out.
Older vehicles (mainly trucks) with ball joints in their front suspensions can generate popping sounds when turning or going over bumps. If that happens, it’s time to have them checked out. Popping sounds when going over bumps or turning sharply can also be a sign of worn shock absorbers or worn out struts.
A roaring noise either from your front wheel or rear wheel area as you are riding down the road can be caused by several things. It could be an irregular tire wear pattern causing the noise or it could be worn bearings. Either one needs to be checked by an automotive repair professional.
These are just a few of the common noises you might hear in the everyday operation of your vehicle. There are certainly dozens we have not discusses here. If your vehicle is experiencing any of these types of noises, or even ones that we haven’t talked about here, bring it to Postle’s Tire Barn and let us check it out for you.
Postle’s Tire Barn is a locally owned, locally operated tire and automotive repair shop, serving Tuscaloosa and the surrounding area for more than 35 years. Postle Tire Barn: Excellent Prices, Great Service and No Bull.