- Car Care & Maintenance
Why does my car squeak from the front?
When your ride is rattling
A common noise is a grunt/squeak noise that occurs when turning or going over bumps. Many times it's described as the sound of a squeaky door swinging open. This usually comes from the ball joints or tie rods. I will describe these to you in basic terms and their function on most vehicles. The front steering is operated by the power steering rack. Attached to the end of the rack are threaded bars called 'tie rods'. Where the tie rod attaches to the spindle is a ball in socket that allows side to side and limited up and down movement. The spindle is basically where your wheel is mounted. Naturally, as time goes by, the socket and ball of the tie rod begin to wear out. Usually the grease breaks down and the dry friction between these 2 makes a noise similar to a door on squeaky hinges. Some are greaseable, but many are not. Usually by the time you start hearing these noises, you probably should replace the part. If these pivot points fail, you will lose your steering control and suffer greater damage and possibly crash.
Suspension noises are usually created specifically from up and down movement like going over bumps. A very common noise is a clunk or rattle type that comes from the stabilizer bar end links. The stabilizer bar runs horizontally across the front of your vehicle and helps to reduce the lean or sway of the body when you turn or go over uneven terrain. The links on the end connect from the bar usually to the strut or sometimes to the control arm. These end links have rubber bushings that will harden and break down as time goes by. These links will rattle over bumps once the bushings break down. Replacement is the only repair for this.
The search for the sound
There are a lot of places in the steering, suspension and subframe where rubber bushings were installed by the manufacturer to create cushion and damper road force which all help to create a smoother ride. Unfortunately, as all of these break down with age and use, they are all susceptible to making noise. Short of addressing the obvious concerns, pinpointing the exact source of a noise can be difficult. Sometimes it's just a technicians best guess.
So if you have a noise from under your vehicle and the shop sounds like they are having a hard time verifying it, please be patient and give them all the information you possibly can to help them solve your problem.