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Just like a noisy serpentine belt, a noisy strut mount is also a contributing driving distractor.
As we’ve seen in my previous article on car making noise when going over bumps, any distractions during driving can result to fatal road crashes.
Luckily for you, I have done all the legwork and compiled some of the best methods to quiet noisy strut mounts.
What Is A Strut Mount, And What It Does?
Strut Mounts have two major functions.
One, they secure the struts to your vehicle chassis.
The strut mounts also act as a sound dampener for the noises coming from the passenger cabin and all moving parts under your vehicle.
These mounts are just like a sandwich. One side attaches to the strut while the other side is attached to the vehicle.
The middle of the mount is made using an insulating material just like rubber.
Additionally, the strut mount acts as a cushion against the jarring noises when the vehicle moves over bumps pulling and pushing the mount with each motion.
In most cars, the front struts also feature a bearing that acts as a steering pivot forming a critical component for steering movement.
What Does A Bad Strut Mount Sound Like?
A bad strut mount makes clunking noises accompanied by vibration.
You may also hear a creaking, grinding, or knocking noise depending on the affected area.
The noise mainly comes from the suspension and steering system.
These noises will become more pronounced when you go through a speed bump or hit a pothole.
Since the strut mounts have a sound-dampening effect, all other noises become amplified when it goes bad.
If you notice an increase noise levels in the cabin, and the noise is mostly from the bottom part of the vehicle, the strut mounts could be the problem.
What Happens When A Strut Mount Goes Bad?
When a strut mount goes bad, weight shifts one one side of the car and this causes more wear on one side.
The increased wear will affect certain suspension components and even cause them to fail.
If you stay too long without fixing the problem, you will have more expensive repairs to do in the future, especially on the tires.
It’s safe to drive with slightly worn strut mounts.
Still, don’t wait for your tires to wear too much on one side or for other components to break before replacing them.
How To Quiet Noisy Strut Mounts
While the strut mounts don’t come with as many moving parts, there are a few that can be lubricated to quiet them.
One of these parts is the binding strut spring.
The strut springs slightly rotate on the spring seat insulator.
Since these are coil springs and they don’t work in a straight line, they may produce some noise if the seat is a bit worn out and not well lubricated.
To lubricate the binding strut spring, jack your car up, remove the affected wheel, and soak the spring seat insulator with dry silicone spray.
You can also spray the top and bottom parts of the strut and leave it for about 24 hours to give it enough time to dry.
Replace the tire and test if the noise is gone.
Please avoid spraying lubricant on rotors or the bearing and avoid WD-40 as it will not deliver the results that you are looking for.
Rubber Vibration Insulator
The rubber vibration insulator acts as the sound dampener.
If the metal plates start separating from this rubber part, you will hear some strut noise as the two metal parts grind against each other.
Use some acoustic windshield adhesive to bind these parts back together.
Ensure that you have packed enough of the adhesive on all the cavities separating the rubber from the metal plates.
Once dry, the adhesive will create a hard rubbery cushion and rectify the noise.
For best results, remove the strut first, so it is easier to access the strut mounts.
This is the only way to can access the entire insulator circumference.
Tighten The Strut Mounting Nuts
Strut mounts mostly come with threaded studs or bolts for easy mounting on the chassis.
Sometimes, one or more nuts may come loose, causing come clunking sounds as the strut bangs on the chassis.
Over time, the threads on the nut will wear, and the stud will begin to come out of the mount.
This amplifies the noise.
Fortunately, the nuts are easily accessible, so you can check if any of them has come loose and tighten them.
If you have some cash to spare, invest in nylon locking nuts.
Tighten The Shock Mounting Nut
While it’s hard for the shock mounting nut to come loose, there is no harm in checking whether it’s causing the noise.
A torque wrench such as TEKTON 1/2 Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench will do a good job of tightening this nut.
You may need two wrenches, one to hold the shaft as you tighten the nut.
Replace The Bearing
A worn-out bearing could result in some noise in the strut mounts.
Instead of just replacing the bearing, you are better off changing the entire strut.
The price difference for these two parts is small, and the work that goes into removing the strut and then pulling it apart to access the bearing is not worth it.
Getting just a bearing to fit into the strut can also be quite a challenge.
Get A New Strut Mount
Once you ascertain that the noise is coming from the strut mount and the problem looks irreparable, you have no choice but to get a new unit.
You can just replace the worn mount but if money is not a problem, just replace them all.
If you know your way around cars, replacing the strut mounts should take you anywhere between one and four hours.
It may take quite a while to remove the entire strut assembly and put it back in position.
If you do not have the tools or skills to replace the strut mounts, let your mechanic handle them.
You may also want to request a thorough check on all associated parts.
How Long Should Strut Mounts Last?
The answer to the question how long a strut mount lasts depends on where you drive and the type of road you use.
On average, strut mounts should last about ten years.
However, with good care, they can stay in perfect condition for 20 years plus.
Can You Drive With A Broken Strut Mount?
Yes, you can safely drive with a broken strut mount for as long as you want.
However, your tires will wear out unevenly, meaning that you will need a new set much earlier.
Also, a broken strut mount will also lead to damages to the brakes, springs, and struts. When you add all these costs, it is easy to understand why fixing the problem as soon as possible is important.
On How To Quiet Noisy Strut Mounts
Now that you know how to quiet noisy strut mounts, you can get your car running as smoothly as you like.
The information above comes with both short-term and long-term solutions, so you will be spoilt for choice.
Just remember that short-term solutions do not fix the problem. You are better off replacing any worn-out part and repairing other associated ones.
Handling any car-related problem from the source will always save you a lot of money in the long run.
Strut mounts may not cost as much, but the parts that will be damaged with broken ones will add to quite an amount.