2001 Plymouth Neon Clicking noise while driving.

  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • 110,000 MILES
This has been happening for a few months now. I've had it aligned numerous times, replaced a strut, control arm and many tires. I'm still having trouble with it. Yesterday I went to the mechanic and he said I had a knot on my tire and that's what was causing the clicking. I replaced the tire, it's still making the noise. They let me go without telling me what else it could be. I've had 3 people tell me it's probably the axle, but each mechanic who has said that, hasn't actually checked my axle. The car no longer jolts and shakes, but it still steers to the left pretty hard. My alignment guy just tells me it's because I've hit holes. But yet he still hasn't fixed it. I was told that I need another control arm on the passenger side because the bushing was worn down. No big deal, but I'd like to find out if it sounds like axle problems as well (not getting a straight answer from anyone). The clicking is pretty recent, but the alignment problems have been happening since last October. I'm just tired of getting the run around. Can someone help?

edit: the clicking seems to come from both sides. When I have the windows down I can hear it pretty loud on my side, and a passenger can hear it from their side. It's not when I turn the wheel hard, it's when I'm just driving. This is why I'm confused, people say the CV joint will click when you turn the wheel, but this doesn't.
Do you
have the same problem?
Monday, June 8th, 2009 AT 1:49 PM

1 Reply

It would have been much less expensive to take it to the dealership. The people there are familiar with your car. If a new tire didn't solve the problem, how can they justify charging you for it and why in the world would you let them sell it to you? Same with the other parts. No one would take delivery of their car and pay the bill for repairs that don't solve the problem.

If you have two different brands of tire on the front, that could explain the left-hand pull. An alignment issue will cause that too and will lead to rapid tire wear. An alignment expert will "read" the tires for clues to that problem.

As for the clicking, I would start by running the car in gear while on a hoist. Drive-on hoists have jacks that will raise the car by the control arms so the suspension geometry stays the same as when the weight is on the tires. Raising the car by the body allows the suspension to drop. The change in geometry can make noises get worse or go away.

If the clicking noise occurs at the same rate as tire rotation, the mechanic will listen underneath with a stethoscope. If it occurs randomly or over bumps, they have clip-on microphones that transmit to a receiver in the car. As he drives the car, he can switch between six different microphones to see which one is loudest. By moving the microphones around, he can pinpoint the location of the noise.

If the click only occurs once when you accelerate, suspect cv axle nuts that aren't torqued to the proper value. If the clicking stops or gets worse when you lightly apply the brakes while moving, suspect warped brake rotors and the pads are catching on notches worn into the mounting knuckles. Aftermarket wheels can have raised weld spots or balancing weights that bump against suspension components. Stick-on weights will solve related problems. High spots at the end of a weld can be ground down. In rare cases, spacers are needed to move aftermarket wheels away from the brake calipers. These spacers, and the wheels, can cause handling problems if one half of the brake hydraulic system fails. In that case, only one front brake will work. To prevent it from tugging the steering wheel out of your hands, the suspension system is modified on front wheel drive cars. Any dimension changes that changes where the center of the tire hits the road will affect handling, so if this is the modification that solves the clicking noise, you should be aware of the potential consequences. If you do have aftermarket wheels, you might consider reinstalling the original wheels or putting the spare tire on the front. If the clicking goes away, you have a clue to the problem.

Modifying the ride height of the car changes the drive-train geometry. Usually this results in a vibration or shaking in the steering wheel; typically not a clicking noise.

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Friday, June 19th, 2009 AT 6:06 PM

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