Squeaky Suspension (Major Causes & Fixes)
Besides brake pads, the most common reason for vehicle suspension squeaking is the lack of lubrication. This issue can occur when the metal-on-metal wear in the connecting components, such as the steering linkage, tie-rods, and suspension joints, causes the parts to get scratched.
If lubrication is the leading cause of your vehicle's squeaking issue, then it's possible to fix it yourself using a spray-on lubricant and a grease gun. You can also take your car to a car care facility.
This article covers squeaky suspension causes, how to stop squeaky suspension, how to lubricate suspension, et cetera.
Table of Contents
- What Is the Cause of a Squeaky Suspension?
- Other Causes of Squeaky Suspension
- How Do I Stop My Suspension From Squeaking?
- How Often Should I Replace My Suspension?
- How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Car’s Suspension?
- Best Car Deals by Category
What Is the Cause of a Squeaky Suspension?
Aside from annoying, a squeaky suspension can also make your vehicle more prone to accidents.
In addition, it can affect the steering and control of the car, increasing the stopping distance in an emergency.
A faulty steering geometry can also affect your vehicle's suspension, making it harder to negotiate turns. This issue is essential to note down in this article.
The squeaky suspension system can also be hazardous, leading to severe problems if it gets too noisy.
Each wheel supports the car's weight through its various components, such as leaf springs, coils, and shock absorbers.
These components are connected to the car's suspension system by connecting the wheels to the vehicle using various tie rods, control arms, steering linkages, and track bars.
Each of these components has a joint on its end that can cause the noise from the suspension.
These three joints make up your suspension:
Bushings are commonly used when one of the joints only needs to move in one direction.
They are the most common type of joint in the suspension system and are known to be prone to experiencing a squeaky suspension.
These rubber sleeves go between the vehicle's frame and the component connected to it.
If the rubber sleeve gets torn or dried out, the suspension component might start to rotate inside the sleeve, which could cause noise from the suspension.
Another common cause of suspension squeaking is worn-out rubber bushings.
If you suspect the vehicle's suspension is affected by a faulty or worn-out rubber bushing, you can try lubricating the area using a small amount of lubricant.
However, if the noise persists, you might want to replace the entire component.
2. Rubber Mounts
The last type of joint that's commonly used is the rubber mount. These are usually used on the rear side of the lower control arms.
If you hear a loud clicking sound while driving, the mount may be causing the noise. You can also check for tears by spraying the area with penetrating oil.
Sometimes, the mounts or joints connected to the vehicle's suspension system must be replaced.
This can be done by replacing the entire shock absorber or the mounts. When it comes to replacing shock absorbers, it's essential to replace them in pairs.
3. Ball Joints
A ball joint is also commonly used when one of the joints needs to be able to move in different directions.
For instance, the joint at the end of the lower control arm needs to be able to move up and down as the spring passes through it.
Like the hip or shoulder joint, a ball joint is made of stainless steel and has a Teflon cup. These components are designed to provide the necessary rigidity and range of motion.
They can also have grease fittings inside the cup. If the boot gets damaged, the ball joints might start to make a squeaky sound when turning.
Other Causes of Squeaky Suspension
Other than the suspension joints mentioned earlier, there are other possible causes of suspension noise.
One of these is the loss of grip on one of the vehicle's pulleys, which can cause the belt to make a squeaking sound.
This can be fixed by replacing the entire serpentine belt or the connecting pulley.
Another common cause of suspension noise is the low level of the vehicle's power steering fluid.
This can cause the car to start to make a clicking sound when it makes a turn. If the fluid level is low, you must have it fixed immediately.
How Do I Stop My Suspension From Squeaking?
Your car's suspension system was designed to provide a more comfortable and safer ride.
It absorbs the vibrations and shocks that come from the wheels, and it's designed to prevent them from passing through the vehicle's frame.
These vibrations and bumps are also absorbed by the car's internal components, which helps prevent them from affecting the passengers.
Lack of lubrication is the most common reason your vehicle has a squeaky suspension problem.
The suspension is comprised of two rubber and metal components so that the ride will be noisy without proper lubrication.
If your car has components that have grease fittings, such as the steering links, ball joints, and sway bar end-link, then it's possible to fix this issue by lubricating the parts.
Another common cause of suspension squeaking is the rubber isolators between the spring cubs and the top of the springs.
You can try to stop the isolators from squeaking by dropping the springs and putting some bearing grease on both sides.
However, if this doesn't work, you might want to replace the entire set of springs. You can also use a paintbrush to clean the coils coming together.
How Often Should I Replace My Suspension?
The shocks and struts typically wear out in around 50,000 to 100,000 miles.
If you're an aggressive driver or are frequently on rough roads, your shocks and struts will likely wear out faster than they did when you first got them.
This means that even though your suspension might not seem like it's going bad, it could be deteriorating. Here are four signs that your suspension needs to be replaced.
1. Leaking Fluid
If your shocks or struts leak fluid, it could indicate something is wrong with your suspension.
If they don't have enough hydraulic fluid, your shocks and struts won't be able to absorb the impact that you might make.
If you can't tell if the liquid is coming from your shocks or if it's coming from an old leak, try wiping it off. You can also recheck it after you've driven a couple of miles.
2. Instability When Braking or Turning
If you're experiencing a nosedive or sway on a turn, this could indicate that your suspension cannot handle the changes to the vehicle's weight distribution. It can also take longer to stop if your suspension is terrible.
Proper suspension components can help prevent damage to other car components, such as tires and suspension.
It's also essential to replace your shocks and struts regularly to keep them in good condition.
Modern cars have numerous safety features that help improve the handling and stability of their vehicles.
These include automatic braking, anti-lock brakes, and traction control systems.
However, if your shocks and struts are in poor condition, these components might not be able to respond appropriately to the electronic signals of these systems in an emergency.
3. Uneven Tread Wear
A sign that your car's suspension is in poor condition is the appearance of a round dip in the tire's surface, which is usually caused by the lack of a firm grip on the road.
This condition can also affect the stopping power and handling of your vehicle.
4. Bumpy Ride
If you're experiencing a bumpy ride, this could be a sign that your car's suspension is in poor condition. It can affect your ability to control the vehicle and its stopping power.
One of the best ways to determine when it's time to replace your car's suspension components is by having a qualified technician inspect them. At the very least, this should be done every year.
If you're planning on replacing your shocks and struts, you must return them in pairs.
This ensures that the components are in good condition and respond appropriately to different road conditions.
After your suspension work is completed, it's also essential that you have an alignment performed.
Changing the alignment of your vehicle's wheels can affect its wheel alignment.
Even minor changes can cause issues down the road, such as accelerated tire wear and more complex handling.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Car’s Suspension?
The cost of replacing a car's suspension system can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle.
In most cases, replacing a suspension system costs around $1,000 to $5,000.
However, the complexity of the job and the price of replacement parts can also affect the final cost.
The technician performing the suspension work is replacing various components. These include the springs, shock absorbers, linkages, and ball joints.