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Knocking noise from front wheel when driving causes can be confusing since there are many reasons behind the problem: It can happen due to a defect in the many parts of the suspension, worn tires or bearings.
Some of these problems are easy to fix and are not too heavy on the wallet, while others can cost up to $800. This article will help detect the exact issue and recommend car repair strategies.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- 1 What Causes a Knocking Noise From Front Wheel When Driving?
- 1.1 – Busted Struts or Strut Mount
- 1.2 – Knocking Sound From Broken Sway Bars
- 1.3 – Defective Bushings Cause Front Tire Noise
- 1.4 – Loose-fitting Lug Nut on the Front Wheels
- 1.5 – Worn or Unbalanced Tires Cause Noise
- 1.6 – Damaged Wheel Bearings and Increasing Noise
- 1.7 – Clunking Noises From Worn Control Arms
- 1.8 – Noise From Wasted Ball Joints
- 1.9 – Bent Axle Produces Clunking Sounds
- 2 How To Fix the Knocking Noise From the Front Wheels?
- 3 Conclusion
What Causes a Knocking Noise From Front Wheel When Driving?
The knocking noise from the front wheel when driving is caused by defective suspension parts, such as struts, a sway bar, or control arm. Loose lug nuts, a bent axle, or worn tires can also cause knocking noises. Additionally, damaged bearings or bushings can produce loud noises when you drive.
– Busted Struts or Strut Mount
Struts are present in the suspension system of cars and are commonly known as shock absorbers. As the name suggests, they absorb any shock or impact from the road. Broken struts lead to a knocking noise from front wheel when going over bumps.
A busted strut will not be able to absorb the impact from road bumps or small rocks or pebbles. As a result, the car will make noises when you drive on uneven, rough roads.
Strut mounts are the components that link the struts to the car frame. If these mounts break, you will notice striking sounds. The broken mounts fail to transfer the road shock to the struts, and any impact that the wheel feels, you feel too.
The struts or mounts may damage over time if the rubber bushings or springs in the suspension fail. A high impact during an accident can also damage these components. Moreover, corrosion or carrying high weight inside the car can lead to similar outcomes.
– Knocking Sound From Broken Sway Bars
The sway or stabilizer bar is another part of the suspension. Any damage can cause clunking noise from front wheel when turning or driving on rough roads. The car weight shifts to one side when you turn your car. To prevent it from falling or flipping on one side, the bar shifts the stress.
Since it is under high stress throughout the drive, the stabilizer bar can break and produce noise. Normal wear due to high stress and aging is normal, but certain factors can make its life shorter. These include the high impact from road bumps, heavyweight inside cars, or corrosion.
– Defective Bushings Cause Front Tire Noise
If you hear a knocking sound when driving slowly, your car might have a defective bushing near the front wheels. Bushings are an essential part of the suspension, supporting all moving components.
Since most car components are metallic or solid, their movement against each other can be very noisy. That is where bushings come to function and provide a rubber cushion to these moving parts. They also have a role to play in keeping the cars aligned, especially the wheels.
Sometimes a bushing in the engine can produce an engine knock that may be mistaken for faulty spark plugs. To detect bad bushings, you should look for the following signs:
- Loud rattling or engine knocking sounds
- Extreme shaking while driving
- Unstable steering wheel
- Low fuel efficiency
– Loose-fitting Lug Nut on the Front Wheels
Lug or wheel nuts are present on the wheels for their safety. These nuts secure the wheel inside the wheel hub. Loose nuts on one of the front wheels can cause a knocking noise from front wheel when accelerating.
The wheel nuts may loosen due to incorrect torque. If you or your mechanic recently took the wheel off the car for maintenance or repair, the nuts might not be fully tightened. It is a common reason because these nuts need specific torque otherwise they get loose soon.
However, it is important to note that overtightening them can also be problematic. In that case, you will end up ruining the lug nut. Sometimes the nuts may wear due to normal aging.
It is harmful to people around the vehicle or the driver and will also create more severe issues in the car. The wheel may separate from the hub and create a risk of an accident. Other consequences include:
- Uneven damage to the tire tread resulting in poor traction
- Damage to the brake rotors and, thus brake system
- Harm to the bearings inside the wheel
– Worn or Unbalanced Tires Cause Noise
Having good quality aligned tires is important for a smooth ride. If you notice a clunking noise when driving straight, it can be a sign of damaged or unbalanced tires. In both cases, whenever the tire hits a rough surface, you will hear a knocking sound under car when driving.
If you have lately been on off-road adventures, you should check the state of your tires. They can wear if you use them on uneven surfaces. It can also reduce the tire pressure causing the tires to make noise while hitting a bump.
Damage to the tires or the wheels can cause misalignment leading to imbalanced tires. These issues need fast repair as delaying will cause further harm to the car.
– Damaged Wheel Bearings and Increasing Noise
Bearings are present in different components and help parts roll without friction. They are also present inside the wheel hub to help the wheel rotate smoothly. Therefore a damaged wheel bearing will cause a knocking sound with every rotation of wheel.
Although bearings have a longer life, they can prematurely damage due to some common reasons. These include improper or no lubrication or dirt lodged inside the bearings.
This problem is easy to detect because you will notice that as you speed up, the noise gets louder. Moreover, a specific grinding noise appears on damage to the bearings.
If you feel a wobble in the steering wheel or if the car pulls to one side while driving, you should observe the conditions of the bearings. Also, check the condition of the tires because uneven wear is also a sign of worn bearings.
– Clunking Noises From Worn Control Arms
Like other suspension components, control or A-arms also work to provide you with a smooth car ride. These arms move along the wheels as they rotate and keep them stable. A problem with these metallic arms can cause clomping noises from the front of the car.
The arms can minimize the impact of running into a pothole or road bump by keeping the tire close to the road. A damaged arm means the tire will bounce higher in response to an impact, and you will hear knocking sounds.
It may damage due to corrosion caused by moisture or salt on roads. Moreover, if you are missing your car maintenance visits, minor damage can turn into the complete failure of car parts. Always get a car inspection after badly hitting a pothole or an accident.
Detecting a won control arm is easy. If you feel any vibration in the steering wheel or if the car has lost control, you should suspect a bad control arm. You can also observe the car’s height as this problem can sag the suspension.
– Noise From Wasted Ball Joints
Ball joints are a bridge between the wheels and suspension of your car. They help the wheels turn left or right when you turn the steering rack. Since they are usually present on the front wheels, damaged joints can cause front-end clunking noise when driving.
The noises are prominent when you turn the car, but sometimes even the slightest change in steering position can be noisy. Like other components, ball joints have a limited lifespan, but some factors damage them faster. For example, high stress due to road impact, improper lubrication, and corrosion.
Other than the knocking or clicking noise, you will notice vibration as you speed up. You will also feel some play in the steering and less control. If your car is pulling to one side while you drive straight, you can suspect a bad ball joint.
– Bent Axle Produces Clunking Sounds
The axle in your car provides the engine’s power to the wheels. It supports the weight of the car, as well as any load, including passengers. To some extent, it absorbs the shocks or impacts from the road, so if it is bent or damaged, the car gets noisy.
The axle is a strong and sturdy component that should last the lifetime of your car, but due to some reasons, it may bend or break. If you have recently been in an accident or if your car hit a pothole, the axle may be damaged.
Likewise, if you have been on an off-road drive, the axle may distort. Putting a heavier load in the car compared to what the axle can bear can also be the reason. In some cases, the manufacturers do a poor job and produce a weak axle unable to carry the weight.
All these factors lead to axle problems that fail to keep the tires on the road. The most obvious outcome is uneven wear on the tires and a clicking noise. It can also damage suspension parts, for example, shocks or bearings.
How To Fix the Knocking Noise From the Front Wheels?
To fix the knocking noise from the front wheels, you can replace the worn front tires or adjust their pressure. You can also replace worn suspension parts such as struts, control arms, or bushings. Installing new bearings can also stop the noise.
– Replace Bad Tires and Fill Air if Deflated
To fix the noise you can inspect each tire of your car to find damage. Use a tread gauge and if the tread is less than the accurate length, replace the tire. If the tire has cracks or the surface has bulges, the tire may blow soon, so you need to replace such tires as well.
Also, look for spots or patches on the tires. Such unevenly worn tires have underlying causes that need repair, but first, change the tires. Moreover, check the air inside the tires. If the tire pressure is too low, fill it up to the recommended level.
Fix Issues in the Suspension Unit
Once you diagnose an issue with the suspension components, you can replace or repair them. These components include struts, mounts, stabilizer bars, A-arms, and bushings.
To fix these parts, you will have to raise the car with the help of a jack. The main problem is locating the exact spot of the defect. For example, there are many bushings, so you can find the defective one or change all bushings.
It is preferable to hire a mechanic to perform these procedures, but it can be expensive. In that case, you can follow these steps to replace a worn strut:
- Turn off the engine and raise the car.
- Undo the nuts and remove the wheel.
- Remove all components that block access to the struts. It can vary with each car. You may have to remove sway bar links, cv joints, or brake pads.
- Remove the strut with the help of a compressor and add the new one.
- Install all the components that you removed, including the wheel.
- Make sure the lug nuts are installed with the correct torque, and test the car.
You can purchase struts for $50 to $300 based on the car you own, and the labor cost to replace them can be up to $800 or less. The mounts are available for $50 to $200 with certain variations, but adding the labor, you may have to spend up to $400.
You can also select the accurate bushings for your car. Depending on the quality and labor, the replacement can cost $10 to $100. You might have to spend more if the bushings are present in unapproachable spots. Changing a control arm can cost even more with a total cost of $400 to $1000.
– Replace Bad Wheel Bearings To Stop Noise
If you suspect damaged bearings, you can confirm by lifting the car. Once you confirm the impairment, you can buy new bearings for $50 to $200 each and replace the old ones.
Although we recommend hiring a mechanic, you can save labor costs if you have prior knowledge.
Replace the bearings by following the steps mentioned below:
- Lift your car and remove the nuts to release the wheel.
- Use a wrench to undo the bolts of the caliper.
- With some force remove the rotor, cv joint, and hub assembly.
- Use a tool to press the old bearings out of their place and install new ones.
- Reinstall all components in reverse order, put the wheel back, and repeat for each wheel.
After reading the article, you might be clear about the knocking noise from the front wheel when driving.
The following key points can help you fix your car:
- Damaged suspension parts such as struts, bushings, and A-arms can cause noise from the front of a car.
- Unbalanced tires, loose wheel nuts, or worn bearings in the wheel can also cause similar noises.
- You can replace the damaged parts, adjust the tire pressure, or hire a mechanic to fix the car.
These findings will help you take measured steps to get rid of the noise from the front end of your car.
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