Thumping/rattling/loud noise in rear axle

Tiny
BRITTANYLYNN
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 HYUNDAI TIBURON
  • FWD
  • 170,000 MILES
I was driving home from work and it was snowing. Heard this thumping every once in a while. Going right around 45 miles per hour. Pulled into a parking lot thinking I for sure had a popped tire. Checked. No problem. Kicked off some built up snow and ice. Went on my way again. About 1/8th of a mile down the road the rear of my car started sounding like something was thumping, rattling, I dunno. Just a lot of noise! I thought that maybe it was something in my trunk that was just hitting sides (I had a bunch of stuff I was bringing home) pulled over again and moved that to the backseat. Went on my way again to drive about 5 minutes to get home. Noise got really loud once or twice. Seemed to lose a little bit of control (not sure if that's cuz of the snow and ice and stuff or my car?) Right before I was about to pull into my driveway, I heard a little bit of squeaking?
Please for the love of God, someone give me ideas of what it is? :( Freaking out here. Also, stupid question I'm sure, but how bad will it be to drive about 20 miles so I can get to work and to the mechanic?
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Sunday, February 16th, 2014 AT 4:43 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Part of what you described could be caused by a rear wheel bearing coming apart. That won't usually last 20 miles, and it will cause more damage to brake parts. You can identify that by pushing and pulling really hard on the top of each rear tire. A tiny little bit of knocking is normal but you shouldn't see the wheel tip back and forth. A rear suspension part could be loose or broken too. You'll need someone to crawl underneath to look at it. The best place is to have it inspected at a tire and alignment shop. Many of them do inspections for free or low cost. Most don't charge anything for inspections if you have the repairs done there.

Also consider there could be snow and ice built up underneath to where it's pushing on the exhaust system and making a pipe bang against the body. That will go away once that snow melts.
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Sunday, February 16th, 2014 AT 5:33 PM
Tiny
BRITTANYLYNN
  • MEMBER
Thank you for your help! It was a wheel bearing. Mechanic I took it to said he was surprised that the wheel didn't fly right off on the drive there. Got lucky this time. I've had 2 others go out a short while ago and this was no where near the same noise and it came on so fast! Anyway, getting fixed tomorrow morning and I'll be ready to go.
Thanks so much for the help!
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Monday, February 17th, 2014 AT 3:12 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Happy to hear it's diagnosed. To put your mind at ease, the mechanic was making this sound worse than it really is. There's a large nut preventing the wheel from coming off. When this happens, it's more common for that nut and part of the bearing to get so hot they weld themselves to the spindle, and the mechanic has to fight and cut to get the wheel off. I've survived two roasted wheel bearings, and both times the hard part was getting the old parts off.
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Monday, February 17th, 2014 AT 5:40 PM

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