What’s Causing that “Clunking”?

One very common problem that you may encounter at some point during your vehicle’s life is that dreaded clunking sound. Your first thought may be to wonder what’s causing it or if it’s safe to continue driving. If you continue driving, you run the risk of causing further damage to your car that can end up costing you a lot of money to get repaired.

Any unusual clunking sound can be caused by a number of problems. Whether you’re inexperienced with vehicle maintenance or have a good understanding of your vehicle, you’re always better off taking it to a trusted ASE-certified mechanic. This will ensure a correct diagnosis and the proper repairs. Some common causes of that dreaded clunking include:

  1. Loose Lug Nuts: Your vehicle’s lug nuts are designed to fasten the rim and tire to the axle. These can become loose over time and cause a clunking noise. Fortunately, they’re an easy fix.
  2. Brakes: Loose brake calipers or pads can make a variety of noises. You will hear these noises when the brakes are applied. Having these repaired will not only save you money, but they’re also a safety issue.
  3. Sway Bar: Another common source of a clunking sound is a loose sway bar. Your vehicle’s sway bar is designed to prevent rollovers when taking a corner.
  4. Mounts: Both engine and transmission mounts hold the engine and transmission securely in place. The movement of your engine with a loose mount can create the sound you’re hearing .
  5. General Wear and Tear: With a lot of mileage there are many aspects of your car that can wear and break and call for replacement. Everything from shocks to drive shaft joints can be a suspect for the clunking you’re hearing.

These are some of the more common causes of the clunking sound. Because many of these repairs require parts and expert experience to facilitate them, your best bet is to always take your vehicle to a mechanic for a detailed inspection.

When you hear a sound you’re unfamiliar with, be sure you put your safety first. Don’t put off an inspection until it’s too late. A small clunking can lead to major repair bills and even accidents. Always take care of yourself and your vehicle and be observant to any changes in your vehicle’s performance.