Can you describe the noise? Is it a clunk, crunch, screech, squeal, whine, hum, clicking, grinding or popping? As mechanics, we regularly get people asking for advice about their car, and usually when it is “making a funny noise”. I’ve gotten pretty good over the past few years discerning the noises people describe and matching them with likely failing components, but a front wheel drive car’s front end is one of the most difficult places to do that. I’ve heard all of the above noises coming from a car’s front end before and they usually indicated different problems.
The front end of your car really has quite a few different jobs that require a lot of equipment to be able to move in lots of different ways while bearing the weight of your vehicle and still transferring power from the motor to the wheels. Moving parts mean there will be oil and grease that need to be changed (and often doesn’t) and it means parts will wear down and need to be replaced regularly.
The front end of your car needs to accomplish many different tasks:
- Carry the weight of your car in a straight line and in a turn
- Allow the tires to move up and down for suspension
- Keep the wheels tracking straight ahead normally, but still allow them to turn for steering
- Transfer power from the engine to the wheels while allowing the tires to steer and the suspension to travel
With all of these moving components, there is a lot to wear out. Luckily, as these components wear out, many of them start making odd noises alerting you that they need to be replaced. However, by the time they start making noise they are usually very near failure so it is better to have your front end routinely inspected by someone you trust.
Here is a list of the noises your car may make and possible problems. This is a place to start, and is not a conclusive list so we always recommended having your vehicle checked by a qualified mechanic.
Front End Noises and Possible Problems:
- Clunk, squeak, click, or creak: These noises usually indicated worn shocks, suspension bushings, ball joints or tie rods. These noises can also be accompanied by wandering, poor ride quality or vibrations.
- Metallic grind or ring: These noises usually are from worn brake components. Look into replacing either your pads, shoes or rotors soon!
- Crunching or clicking while turning sharply: Your CV joint has likely gone bad and should be replaced.
- Hum: A hum usually indicates the wheel bearing is going bad. This should be checked out by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.
- Screech, squeal or whine: These sounds usually indicate a problem in your power steering system, either a lose belt, bad pump or low power steering fluid.
Your power steering system is a relatively simply system in your vehicle. It usually consists of the pump, usually driven by a belt on the front of your motor, the rack or steering gear, tie rods to connect the rack or steering gear to the knuckles where your wheels are attached, and hoses or hard lines to connect the pump to the gear or rack. Over time, some of the seals that contain the power steering fluid can wear down from normal use and cause small leaks. As the power steering fluid leaks out, your power steering pump can start to whine when you turn the steering wheel letting you know it’s low on fluid.
To quickly stop any leaks in your power steering system, use BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak. You don’t need to spend the time crawling around under your car or in the engine bay with a flashlight trying to determine where your leak may be. Simply add BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak to your power steering fluid reservoir and top it off with the recommended power steering fluid. The leak will be sealed as you drive! BlueDevil’s unique formula will soften and expand the seals in your power steering system stopping your leak, guaranteed! With your leak stopped, your power steering system will work like normal again leaving you with a quiet ride!
Pick up BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak at your local NAPA, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Advance Auto Parts, CarQuest Auto Parts, Autozone, Bennett Auto Supply or Prime Automotive. You can also purchase it online here: Power Steering Stop Leak