Hearing Funny Noises? Know If It’s Your Brakes or Struts


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“What’s that sound?” You know that sinking feeling when you’re driving down the road and you hear your vehicle make a strange noise. Fear strikes your heart and you start wondering, “Is it serious? How far can I drive? Who can I get to look at this for me?”

You’re not alone if you don’t know how to interpret all the noises your vehicle is making, but you probably do have a good sense of when a sound is new or not normal–and you should use this as a trigger to alert you to look into these sounds. A great mechanic will probably be able to listen to any strange sound your vehicle is making and give you some ideas for a diagnosis, but in this article, we’ll focus on the sounds you might hear when your brakes and struts go bad.

Brakes

The easiest way to tell if an irregular noise is coming from your brakes is to identify whether it starts when you press the brake and stops when you let up the brake. If this is the case, then the problem is probably localized to your brakes. If it’s a squealing noise, your brake pads may be almost completely worn out, but if it’s a grinding noise, your brake pads are probably completely worn through and you’re now hearing the metal-on-metal sound of grinding directly against your rotors. If you keep driving once you’ve heard this grinding sound, you will incur more costly damage on your vehicle because you will damage the rotors as well. Curious to learn more? We went into a lot more detail about brake sounds in our article Squealing brakes? What to do when you hear unusual brake sounds.

Struts

When your struts are going bad, you are most likely to hear it when you drive over bumps. Bad or failing struts will produce a knocking sound when you go over a bump or drive on bumpy ground (like a dirt parking lot). If it sounds like it is coming from the area near one of your tires, it could be that your strut mount is broken and needs to be replaced. The sound you are hearing is that of the strut “bottoming out” in the mount.

Other signs that your struts may be the source of the problem:

  • Your ride is extra bumpy compared to how it was when your car was newer
  • Your vehicle shakes a lot when you drive over bumps
  • Your car nosedives when you stop (i.e. the front end of your car dips drastically)
  • You have difficulty controlling your car around corners
  • You experience sudden veering in high crosswinds

All these things together can help to point to the fact that your struts need to be replaced. However, since struts fail little by little, it’s possible that you won’t hear any noises at all, so if you see these symptoms, you should look into getting them replaced even if they’re not making noise yet. For more details about knowing when your struts need to be changed, read our article Do My Struts Need To Be Changed? Also, give one of our mechanics a call, because we can come to you, diagnose the problem, and replace your struts on site.

All these things together can help to point to the fact that your struts need to be replaced. However, since struts fail little by little, it’s possible that you won’t hear any noises at all, so if you see these symptoms, you should look into getting them replaced even if they’re not making noise yet. For more details about knowing when your struts need to be changed, read our article Do My Struts Need To Be Changed? Also, give one of our mechanics a call, because we can come to you, diagnose the problem, and replace your struts on site.Brakes and Beyond is here to serve you throughout Northern Virginia. Call today or click for a brake quote or a suspension quote. Our ASE Certified Automotive Technicians can find your vehicle’s problems and fix them.

Brakes and Beyond is here to serve you throughout Northern Virginia. Call 571-308-6995 today or click for a brake quote or a suspension quote. Our ASE Certified Automotive Technicians can find your vehicle’s problems and fix them.