You may have noticed that your car make a variety of noises. Some of those noises are benign and nothing to worry about, but some can be serious. Popping and clunking noises, the kind you can feel through the floor, the brake pedal or through the steering wheel, are the kinds of noises that are potentially serious. Some of the more common reasons why your car may be popping and clunking are listed below.
Worn suspension parts:
If your car is clunking and popping when you stop or turn sharply or go over a bump, then you may be dealing with a suspension issue. You can often feel a clunking through the steering wheel, especially when turning. Ball joints, suspension arms and tie-rod ends can develop excessive movement, or "play" as they wear out. Sometimes, a clunking noise can be due to over-worn shocks and struts that bottom out on bumps.
Steering or drive components are worn:
If you are hearing a clunking sound or feeling a vibration when you're turning, you may have serious issues with worn or damaged steering components. Like suspension parts, steering components give more play as they wear and will make strange noises and sensations. One steering component that frequently fails is the constant velocity, or CV, joint. These joints connect your front axles to your transmission and allow your car and allow the car to accelerate and turn at the same time. One of the first sounds of a bad CV joint is a clunking or clicking noise while turning. Other steering components, such as steering joints or couplers, can also make clicking noises when worn.
Worn Brake Parts:
Excessively worn or improperly installed brake parts can cause a clunking or popping sound when you step on the brakes. Common causes are a misaligned caliper, a missing brake pad or missing brake shoe. Loose or missing caliper bolts or hardware can also cause movement and noise. You may feel a pulsing sensation in the pedal and experience poor braking as well.
Any time you hear or feel a clunking or popping noise coming from under your vehicle, immediately have your car checked out by a mechanic (like those at Budget Automotive Center). Clunking noises are a sure sign that something is not right and it could be serious. If any of the above components fail, it could be a serious safety risk. Before things get serious enough to where you get a clunking noise, have your car regularly inspected at each oil change.