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Are you wondering why your car makes creaking noise when going over bumps?
Well, the answer is, 99% of the time, the suspension is to blame.
You will still experience the creaking noise problem even after soundproofing the car cabin.
And now that you know that suspension is one of the common reasons your car creaks when going over bumps, it’s important to examine how to fix this problem.
Why Does Suspension Make Creaking Noise When Going Over Bumps?
Before we look at why suspension makes creaking noises, let’s first examine how the suspension works.
The suspension is designed to provide comfort while driving without compromising handling.
It also helps maximize the friction between the tires and the road when braking, accelerating, and cruising.
It absorbs shocks and vibrations caused by the wheels on potholes, bumps, humps, and uneven road surfaces.
A car suspension system comprises components that connect the tires to the main body of your automobile.
There are two types of suspension system:
- Independent- each wheel is capable of moving independently
- Dependent- it uses a fixed axle- and the movement of one wheel impacts the other’s movement.
Components of Car Suspension System
Even though the suspension system’s springs are designed to absorb kinetic energy during the compression cycle, a shock absorber/damper helps dissipate the energy by converting it to heat.
As the spring slowly decompresses, the potential energy is then converted to kinetic energy.
The dampers will take some of the kinetic energy and convert it to heat.
Inside the shock absorber/damper is a piston filled with oil responsible for converting kinetic energy to heat.
If the damper/shock absorbers are damaged or worn out, you will experience a bouncy ride as the springs won’t dispose of the kinetic energy.
Springs and Anti-Roll Bars
There are several types of suspension springs.
Historically, leaf springs were common, but today, most cars use steel coil springs.
For steel coil springs, the spring is compressed when the wheel moves down and when the wheel moves up, it is stretched out.
Anti-roll bars, on the other hand, help reduce body lean when maneuvering corners.
It often connects the tires on the opposite side of the car- such that when one tire is raised higher than the other when cornering, the bar will resist the twist hence keeping the car level.
Click here to read a detailed guide on how anti-roll bars work.
Car Makes Creaking Noise When Going Over Bumps Causes
Now that you know how shocks work and the different types of suspension systems, let’s look at the other causes of car suspension noises.
1. Lack of Lubrication
At times creaks in the steering system and suspensions are caused by a lack of lubrication of the metal components such as shock units and tie rods.
A well-lubricated system helps prevent dirt build-up.
However, even though the grease can help eliminate the problem, the creaking noises could also sign a major issue.
2. Faulty Suspension Bushes
Bushes are rubber cushions that are mounted on all joints in the suspension system.
They help reduce movement and, at the same time, minimize vibrations and noise.
You will find bushes in shock absorbers, anti-roll bars, and ball joints, and in all parts, metal is in contact with another metal in the suspension system.
Because suspension bushes are made of rubber and are in most cases subjected to strain, they often wear out quickly over time.
Worn-out rides will make your rides a living hell as they can also cause noises such as clunking and rattling when going over bumps.
You will also hear squeaking noises when the bushes are completely worn out.
3. Damaged Ball Joints
If your suspension system is making creaking or squeaking noises when going around the corners, then it could be a sign of worn-out ball joints.
The ball joints serve as a pivot between the suspension and the wheels, allowing them to move freely.
The ball joints are made up of a socket and bearing stud fitted inside a sealed lubricated casing.
Depending on the design and the configuration of your car suspension system, there can be lower and upper ball joints on each wheel.
However, regardless of the suspension structure, the ball joints will always bear much of the weight of your car.
While the ball joints are designed to last for years, they can easily be damaged by tear and wear or become less effective if the seal is ruined, resulting in a loss of lubrication.
There are several signs of damaged ball joints.
When cornering, you will likely hear a creaking noise and hear knocking sounds when going over the bumps.
Worn-out ball joints will also affect car handling.
Therefore, if you notice your car drifting to one side or probably your steering feels loose than usual, then you could be dealing with a damaged ball joint.
Additionally, uneven tire wear will also indicate a problem with the ball joints.
If your car displays any of the symptoms highlighted above, it needs to be checked as soon as possible.
This is becasue it can result in a tire coming loose, which can cause a serious accident.
On Car Makes Creaking Noise When Going Over Bumps
While it’s my hope that the above guide will help you figure out the problem with your suspension system.
It’s always good and safer to get a certified mechanic to fix the problem for you.
Whatever small the problem could be, it’s always good to consider safety first and get the problem fixed.