Insidious degrading- The gradual wear process that occurs in the suspension of a vehicle accounts for the reason why these parts are often neglected until a noise or a catastrophic failure occurs. Over time, the rubber bushings in control arms and ball joints degrade. They are of course susceptible to load driven wear and tear, but contaminants like oil and road grime take their toll as well.
Attention grabbing sound- The first sign that makes the driver aware of a problem is usually a "clunking" or "banging" sound. As those rubber bushings go away after years of driving, two metal parts that were previously separated by rubber begin to contact each other when the vehicle's suspension is stressed by going over irregularities in the road like a speed bump or a pothole. This produces the noise that alerts you to the failure.
Clicking noise- One part of the suspension that can produce a "clicking" noise when it fails is the sway bar links also called stabilizer links. These parts connect the front or rear (if so equipped) sway bar to the suspension. When the links break a vehicle may lean more on turns and signal its condition with a rattling sound.
As we pointed out in our previous post the senses are important when evaluating the condition of your vehicle. In the case of suspension problems, hearing plays a very important part in your ability to convey what ails your vehicle to the service facility. Try to describe the type of noise, where it is coming from and when it is evident such as when going over a bump or when the brakes are applied.
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