Strut mounts are an important factor for your vehicle. A noisy strut mount also contributes to a driving distractor. Now, it goes without saying that a distraction during driving can cause fatal road crashes.
DIY insulations can help mask the noise under hood but it won’t entirely soundproof the car from such noises and also will not fix the main problem which leads to these types of noises.
To fix the problem first, you will need to analyze it and know exactly what a strut mount is and why a bad strut mount needs to be fixed. Below, we will provide you with all the details and any information you require to be well versed in solving your own strut mount problem.
What is a strut mount and what does it do?
Two major functions of the strut mount are:
- They securely keep the struts of your vehicle in place.
- They also act as a sound dampener for the noises that come from all the moving parts under the vehicle and also under the cabin.
These mounds are just like a sandwich as one side attaches to the strut and the other side is attached to the vehicle.
The middle part of the mount is made up of insulating material. It is almost similar to rubber.
When the vehicle moves over bumps, the strut mount acts as a cushion against the jarring noises. The front struts form a very crucial component for the steering movement as it acts as a steering pivot in the cars.
What does a bad strut mount sound like?
Vibrations and lots of clunking noises generally denote a bad strut mount.
You may hear creaking, grinding, or knocking noises from the areas that have been affected. These noises usually mainly come from the suspension and the steering system. When you go through a speed bump or hit a pothole, these noises will be more pronounced.
As we know, one of the main functions of a strut mount is to dampen the sounds of the other machines below it. A bad strut mount leads to all the other noises becoming even more amplified.
The strut mount is usually the problem when you notice noise levels in the cabin have increased than usual and it is mostly from the bottom part of the vehicle.
What happens when a strut mount goes bad?
A bad strut mount shifts the weight of the car to one side and that leads to more wear on that side. It affects the suspension components eventually causing them to fail.
If not repaired soon, it can lead to even more expensive repairs in the future, especially on the tires.
It is safe to drive with slightly worn-out strut mounts but do not wait for your tires to wear too much on one side or for other components to fail before replacing them. That is dangerous and will also be very expensive in the long run.
How to quiet noisy strut mounts?
There are a few parts of the mount that can be lubricated to quiet them.
One of the parts that can be fixed by lubrication is the binding strut spring. These springs rotate on the spring seat insulator and if the seat is a bit worn out or not well lubricated, the coil springs may cause some noise.
You can use the steps below to get it done:
- Jack up your car
- Remove the affected wheel
- Soak the spring seat insulator with some silicon spray to lubricate the binding struts spring.
You can also spray the top and bottom parts of the strut and then leave it for about 24 hours to dry.
Now, see if the noise is gone after you change the tire. Avoid spring lubricant on rotors or the bearing as it will not deliver the results you are looking for.
- Rubber vibration insulator
The rubber vibration insulator also acts as a sound dampener and when the metal parts start separating from this part, it may cause some strut noises as the two metal parts rub against each other.
A good way to bind these parts together is to use some acoustic windshield adhesive. Apply a generous amount of the adhesive on all the cavities that separate the rubber from the metal plates.
On drying the adhesive creates a very hard rubbery cushion and reduces the noise.
Remove the strut to get easy access to the strut mount and also to the entire insulator circumference.
- Mechanical fixes
There are very few adjustments that you can make to a strut or a strut mount as they are very self-contained units.
You need to get a decent torque wrench as most of the fittings that you will be dealing with, whether full maintenance or full replacement will need to be tightened a specific amount to hold and work properly.
Most of the time the tighter is not better as it will only stretch the bolt, disfigure the threads or break something.
- Strut mounting nuts
Generally, most strut mounts have three bolts or thread in struts for mounting the chassis of the vehicle. Sometimes, one or more of these nuts holding the strut mount can come loose. If all of them come loose, there will be huge clunking sounds as the entire strut will bang against the chassis. This can cause the threads of the nut to wear down or could also start coming out of the mount if loose enough causing even more noise.
These noises will make it easier for you to check for the problem.
You can probably invest in some proper size nylon locking nuts if one of them has come loose and replace them. Remove one nut at a time and install the new ones tightened with the proper torque. This should eliminate the problem but keep checking every once in a while just to stay safe.
- Bearing replacement
Replacing only the bearing is possible for a lot of strut mounts but it generally requires the entire strut to be removed to accomplish the bearing replacement.
If the whole thing is out of there, you can just replace the complete mount with a new unit that consists of bearing and all. It can be a little more expensive but it saves the worry about something else going wrong later and having to pull the whole thing again to fix it. It also saves the extra time and energy.
- Strut mount replacement
Once you analyze your problem and are certain that the strut mount is causing the noise and you can also tell that it cannot be repaired, you will have to replace the thing. You will need your tools out and probably spend a whole day changing the strut mounts.
Depending upon your capability, and availability of the needed tools, a strut mount replacement can take between one to four hours each. It involves removing the whole complete strut assembly and replacing the mount and then reinstalling the strut.
You will need to jack up your vehicle, block it to make sure it is stable and then remove the wheel to access your strut. You may need to disconnect tie rods and other components like the brake lines from the strut. Remove the mount nuts and then the last knuckle bolt and pull out the whole strut.
You will need to clamp the strut into a bench vise for ease and safety and then you will need coil spring compression clamps to remove the pressure off the springs. Now, remove the nut at the top of the shock absorber and take off the old strut mount and install the new one according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Put everything back together in reverse order and make sure you torque all of the nuts in just about the required amounts. If you feel like you are not sure about it, you can take your own time and ask some people or research into it a little bit and do it all safely as loose springs can do a lot of damage and can cost you even more later on.
How long do strut mounts last?
Depending on the type of road you drive on, the vehicle you are using the lifetime varies. On average, the strut mounts last for about 10 years but with good care and proper maintenance, they can stay in perfect condition for 20 or even more years.
Read more posts from Industrial category: How to quiet exhaust without losing performance?
Now that you know how to solve a noisy start mount, you can get your car running smoothly without any distractions.
The information above will come in handy both for short-term and long-term solutions.
The short-term solutions will mask the problem for the time being but will not fix it. The best thing to do is to replace any worn-out parts and repair any other associated ones.
Learning how to handle any car-related problem from the very source will always save you a lot of money in the long run. Strut mounts themselves may not cost as much but if left unattended may cause bigger problems which will add to quite an amount.