2006 Hyundai Sonata Front Wheel Issue
December 6, 2016 6:02 PM   Subscribe

I have a 2006 Hyundai Sonata that is making a loud clunking noise when I first put the car in gear. I start the car, put my foot on the brake, put the car in R and I hear a creeeeaakkk, clunk! noise coming from the front, passenger side wheel. I back up out of the driveway/parking spot, put the car in D and get a slight clunk! noise out of the same wheel again. Then I'm off down the road and all seems good unless I hit a pothole or some other bump in the road and it's another clunk! noise out of the same wheel. What could this be? Any thoughts?
posted by NoMich to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd go as far as to say that you should assume this is serious. It sounds to me most likely to be a suspension mount that has worn out the rubber surrounding it. What you are hearing is the movement of one of the mounting legs inside its bracket. This would normally be controlled and damped by the rubber mount, but if that rubber is gone there is a gap and then metal on metal (or near enough to that) contact.

If you can feel movement through the wheel as you go over a pothole, or the wheel does a little kick when you go in and out of drive, this is also a sign of this being the issue. I'd take it to a garage at your earliest convenience and try not to drive it until you can do so.

Better to be safe and sorry and take it to your mechanic. I don't think you necessarily need to get it towed if it has only just started making this noise, but drive with caution and go straight there.
posted by Brockles at 6:16 PM on December 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

If you can get someone to walk alongside the car while you are making the noise happen, they can probably confirm the wheel is 'jerking' when this noise happens. My feeling is suspension, because driveshaft failures usually are telegraphed much earlier than this, with a clicking noise when on full lock under power (ie when you are driving into Walmart parking lot looking for a space or otherwise parking).
posted by Brockles at 6:18 PM on December 6, 2016

There are three types of problems with a car: Those that are annoying, those that will leave you stranded, and those that can kill you.

Drivetrain/suspension problems can easily be the third category -- and this is probably in one of those systems. I'd get to a mechanic ASAP, and expect that they'll be taking a close look at the tie-rod, ball joint, and especially the CV joint on that side.

If you are slowly turning in a very tight circle in a parking lot, do you also hear clunking or clicking? If so, CV joint.

It's bad news if any of those completely fail, but the clunk-clunk sound is more of a sign of too much free-play (sort of a pre-failure condition). It's something to get fixed sooner rather than later, but you probably don't need a tow.
posted by toxic at 9:22 PM on December 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you are slowly turning in a very tight circle in a parking lot, do you also hear clunking or clicking? If so, CV joint.

I am not experiencing any noise when turning tight circles.
posted by NoMich at 3:59 AM on December 7, 2016

Could also be a failing or broken motor or transmission mount if it happens when you go into gear.

Brockles and Toxic are 100% right. This is a "mechanic, immediately" (and drive very carefully on surface streets on your way) situation. Among other things letting it slide (or clunk) even for a little while could do all kinds of other expensive damage to other systems in the car if it's a broken mount or suspension component, not to mention killing you.
posted by spitbull at 9:12 AM on December 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sounds like a failing balljoint to me. Get it looked at promptly.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 4:15 PM on December 7, 2016

I had a very similar issue that ended up being a tie-rod end. Pretty cheap part but I don't know what the cost would look like in terms of labor as I did it myself. Didn't take long though so I can't imagine much.
posted by sixfootaxolotl at 8:44 AM on December 8, 2016

Do let us know what it turned out to be!
posted by spitbull at 3:10 PM on December 9, 2016

So, a friend of mine and I took the front wheels off of the car this past weekend and I gotta say, everything was found to be in solid shape. Nothing loose, bushings are in good shape, boots are in fantastic shape, no loose wheels that can be moved in ways they shouldn't move. After getting the noises and clunks to happen again, my buddy's opinion is that it's my transmission having a tough go of it and that I should take it to a transmission shop because he doesn't want to fuck with that kind of thing.
posted by NoMich at 10:44 AM on December 12, 2016

Well at least my fear that the wheel would fall off if you ignored it is dealt with...

The fact that it happens as the car goes over bumps (not just on take-off and release of engine load) suggests to me that (if it isn't suspension) it is more likely to be engine or trans mount, rather than internal trans. A loaded transmission would struggle to make a 'clunk' that you'd feel over a bump.
posted by Brockles at 11:04 AM on December 12, 2016

As it turns out, it was bad motor mounts. Specifically, the one that is above the passenger side front tire.
posted by NoMich at 10:26 AM on January 27, 2017

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