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Diagnosing Clunking, Rattling, Or Metal-On-Metal Noises

Do you want to learn how to go about diagnosing clunking, rattling, or metal-on-metal noises emanating from your car even after you have replaced the air struts, shocks, or the air suspension system of your vehicle?

If this is your reality, the problem is most likely due to a fault in your swaybar link.

Right here, you will discover just what you need to do in such an instance.

Additionally, you’ll also learn the following;

  • The functions of the swaybar link
  • Signs the swaybar link is faulty
  • Answers to frequently asked questions on diagnosing clunking, rattling, or metal-on-metal noises

With that in mind, let’s get things underway;

The Functions Of The Swaybar Link

To figure out what exactly the swaybar link does, you’ll need a foundational understanding of the swaybar component of your vehicle. The swaybar helps to ensure stability in your car handling when approaching turns, corners, or other driving conditions.

This anti-roll bar is attached to the chassis on both sides of the car by the swaybar links joining it to the air suspension component. The swaybar link smoothens the motion transfer between the sway bar and the air suspension.

Signs The Swaybar Link Is Faulty
Some of these signs may be noticeable while oftentimes, you will need to tear down the car before you notice these signals.
  • Sitting on top of this list is the clunking, rattling, or metal-on-metal noises in your vehicle whenever you’re taking a turn, approaching a sharp corner, or riding over bumps.

  • Wear and tear; Over time, the swaybar links are expected to wear out from constant use. Hence, you’ll begin to hear these scratching noises from under your vehicle whenever it’s in use.

  • The handling of the car feels slow: This could be a result of bad swaybar links.

  • When the swaybar bushing which is supposed to act as a vibration absorber on the vehicle wears out, you will begin to hear clunking, rattling, or metal-on-metal scratching noises under your car whenever you are driving.

These are signs to watch out for when it’s time to diagnose clunking, rattling, or metal-on-metal noises on your vehicle.But how should you go about it?Find out in the next section of this guide.How To Diagnose The  Clunking, Rattling, Or Metal-On-Metal Noises In Your Vehicle

diagnosing clunk

To start with, you’ll need to get the tools necessary for carrying out this diagnosis. Some of which include:

  • Lugnut remover.
  • Protective goggles and gloves.
  • Lubricant or rust breaker.
  • Hydraulic jack, chocks, and jacks or vehicle lift.
  • A basic toolset including screwdrivers, spanners, ratchets, and others.

Now you can get started with the following steps;

  • First, align the tires of your vehicle. Switch off the engine and open the bonnet and disengage the car battery.
  • With the aid of the vehicle lift, raise the vehicle from the ground up to a level that is conducive for you to work under the vehicle body.
  • Loosen the lug nuts using the lug nut remover or driver impact. Take off the tires and keep the lug nuts in a safe place.

Done yet?

The next line of action is to inspect the swaybar, with careful attention to the stabilizer links and bushings. 

Check if the bushings and links are not ripped, damaged, or bruised. If you are unsure with the visual inspection, grab the swaybar at a position close to the swaybar link and forcefully shake it, if you observe any playing or sound then it means the swaybar link is the root of your problems.

If the results of the earlier step do not reveal any fault with the stabilizer links or bushing, then it’s time to shift your focus elsewhere in the air suspension system. Assess if the following are in good working condition;

  • Check if the tie rod is tightly snugged into the ball-in-end socket.
  • Assess the air strut condition to see if it’s in a bad shape.
  • Check the lower ball joint which attaches the steering knuckle and control arm together.

Now let’s find answers to some of the most asked questions on this topic.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

Question: Can You Drive a Vehicle With a Broken Sway Bar?

Answer: Yes! But I recommend that you drive it to the nearest mechanic to have it fixed. If you continue using it for your daily driving then it is possible that you get involved in a catastrophic accident if care is not taken.

Question: How much does swaybar link cost?

Answer: If you’re replacing it yourself, it should not cost more than $20 to replace your stabilizer link.

Question: Where is the stabilizer bar located on the vehicle?

Answer: Most vehicles in the United States have the swaybar in the front end of the car. Although, there are some models with swaybars on the rear end in addition to the front end. Nevertheless, the front-end sway bar and its components are more prone to damage than the rear-end’s.

In The End
the end


What I’d like you to do next is to follow the step-by-step procedure listed in this article in diagnosing clunking, rattling, or metal-on-metal noises under your vehicle.

You can also call on the service of a certified professional to assist you with the diagnosis and replacement of the affected component. Don’t forget to leave your questions, suggestions, experiences, and recommendations as comments. 

Stay safe #YouRock!


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