Have you ever wondered why your car makes those annoying noises when you go over bumps?
The answer to your problem most of the time is the suspension. You will experience this noise problem even after you properly soundproof your whole car cabin.
It is very important to fix this problem as the suspension is a very critical part of your car. If it’s faulty, your car will not be directly hampered but the other components will receive more pressure and hence wear out more easily causing more extensive damage.
Why does suspension make creaking noises when going over bumps?
Before going into the details about the noises that it makes, let us first examine how the suspension actually works.
The suspension is created to provide comfort while driving without compromising the handling. It maximizes the friction between the tyres on the road while braking, accelerating, and cruising. It is made to absorb the shocks and vibrations that are caused by the wheels on potholes, bumps, and uneven roads. It also makes sure that the car remains roughly level during the whole drive.
A suspension system consists of certain components that are connected to the tire and to the main body of the automobile.
- Independent suspension system- In this system, every wheel is capable of moving independently
- Dependent suspension system – It uses an axle that is fixed and impacts the movement of one wheel affects the others.
Components of the suspension system
- Springs: Every car suspension system nowadays consists of a spring. As a car moves along a very rough road, it either stretches or compresses and by doing so it absorbs the kinetic energy that is produced while driving on an uneven road.
There are different types of springs that we use. Earlier leaf springs were used, which consisted of several layers of metal. These are still used on many heavy-duty vehicles like trucks. The most common type of spring used nowadays is the coil spring because of its motion absorption capabilities
- Struts and anti-roll bars: When the spring absorbs the kinetic energy from driving and uneven road, it then needs to dissipate it in order to keep the car from bouncing uncontrollably. There are a few ways that can help the suspension system to overcome this problem and one of them is by using struts and anti-roll bars.
Strut is a shock absorber that’s placed inside of a spring coil first. It helps with dampening the kinetic output of the coil and also provides with additional support for the whole system. The strut should be treated as a very critical feature of your car as it is very vital to the whole suspension system.
Make sure that it is not worn out or damaged.
Anti-roll bars go hand in hand with struts and shock absorbers. These are like metal rods that join each side of the suspension and run along the entirety of the axel.
- Shock absorbers: Shock absorbers help dissipate the kinetic energy of the springs by converting it into heat with the virtue of its unique design. It is an alternative to the struts. An average absorber consists of a piston that moves like an oil pump. The oil moves out of the valves and holes for easier control of movement resistance.
Finding suspension noises
Even though it is difficult to properly say which side of the suspension the noise is coming from, most of the paths mentioned above can be a potential source.
However, there is a method that you can use to find the squeaks.
- Park your car on a level surface and make sure there are no holes or bumps
- Make sure that none of the wheels will roll away as you test it for the sounds. Block every single wheel
- Ask someone to bounce all the corners of the car to check for any sort of noise
- You can also try turning the steering wheel while the car is parked and if you hear any noise, it might not be the fault of the suspension after all
What causes squeaking noises while driving
After learning some basics about car suspension, it is now time to find out what actually makes it squeak when you drive.
- Suspension parts: A vehicle suspension system is one of the most vital parts of the car. It must be replaced immediately if damaged.
Shock absorbers are one of the most frequent reasons behind the suspension speaking. It also depends upon what type of absorbers you use in your car.
A hydraulic absorber might have a leaking or air problems while a spring absorber will suffer from rust and external damage like all the regular springs might.
- Joints: All the segments that make up the car suspensions are connected via joins. They are the pivot points between the wheels and the suspensions and their unique design allows the wheels to move fluidly.
There are different types of joints but the most common one is the rubber sleeve known as the bushing. If it is broken damaged or worn out, it will begin to make noises.
Apart from regular ball joints, a car can also have rubber mounts. The ball joint consists of a metal ball in a cup. This ball is properly lubricated to avoid friction and provide more movement to the system. If there is not enough lubrication or grease in it, it gets old and loses its potency and causes more noises.
Rubber mounts are usually used in the spots of small movements like in the rear end of lower control arms. A tear in the mount can cause a squeaking noise. Check carefully for any damage spots and spray a little penetrating oil to see if it helps stop the noise.
- Steering wheel components: As you might think, sometimes the creaking noise might not come from the suspension itself. It might come from the components that are related to it like the steering wheel or its component.
If it is loose or damaged, it will cause annoying noise whenever you turn or move on a bumpy road. Make sure to listen properly to where the noise is coming from as it can be very difficult to pinpoint the source.
- Lack of lubrication: As the design of a car goes, most components of the suspension system automatically gets lubricated during the drive. However, the oil and grease gradually lose their lubricating properties or it might leak somewhere.
When the rubber and metal components are not lubricated enough, lots of friction occurs and those parts start to wear down and cause noises.
Why should you get it fixed?
It is very unlikely for the car to actually collapse due to suspension failure but it puts a lot of strain on the other components present. It will increase the level of wear and tear in them. This will cause your car to malfunction and even stop if extremely neglected.
Car Makes Creaking Noise When Going Over Bumps [How to stop it?]
- Replace the bushings and rubber mounds
These two components are made up of rubber mainly. If you see any sort of crack or where it is best to replace them completely. You can try to do this by yourself by simply unscrewing the cap, taking out the bush and replacing it with a new one and screwing the cap back on.
If there are minor signs of wear, normal lubrication will be a proper solution but depending on the level of damage you might also have to switch to different methods. For the lubrication, you will need a lubricant bottle with a long nozzle to reach into tight spaces and fold easily.
- Lubricate the ball joints
A typical ball joint is pretty much lubricated and sturdy. However, if the pressure is enough, even these joints can be worn out and damaged.
You can easily solve this problem by applying more lubrication but if there is a leak due to a broken dust cover, you will have to replace it. It is a very easy process. Just get the old dust cover out grease the joint up and put in the new one.
- Spring lubrication
When a metal scrapes against metal or rubber, it can cause friction that can cause noises.
Spring coils tend to compress and expand a lot and hence create friction inevitably
This noise can be reduced by properly lubricating the contact points with grease. If you see any show of cracks or signs of wear, you should replace them at once.
- Fix the issues with the steering wheel
Almost all of the above solutions mentioned can be done in any own garage. You just need the proper appropriate product and you can reduce the noise simply by lubricating it.
Broken or loose parts in the steering wheel or anywhere connected to the suspensions however are far more serious. If any such problems occur, it will be best to take your car to a professional. Do not try to disassemble and fix your steering wheel as it is very complex and a small mistake can make it a lot worse.
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The above solutions will help you figure out the problem with your suspension system and also gives you a more focused guide as to how to solve it.
It is always preferable and best to get a certified mechanic to fix the problem for you but if it’s a small problem and you feel like you can try, refer to the guide above and try to solve it yourself.