Apr 07 2015

It’s Making a Funny Noise: Clicks and Clunks and What They Mean

carsIn cars, the differential, which is a type of a planetary gear, is outfitted to allow faster rotation of the outer drive-wheel compared to the inner drive-wheel for smooth cornering or turning. This ensures the wheel moving in the region of the cornering curve rolls farther and more rapidly than the inner. It is imperative in two drive-wheels cars for maintaining traction, however, high temperatures impair the ability to oil the gear lube, which leads to axle and bearings defects alongside differential failures. At times, noises and sounds are attributed to the differentials but this may not be the case. Vehicle troubleshooting should not be focused on the differential alone, there are other parts to inspect painstakingly, including the exhaust, wheel trim rings, CV or universal joints and tires.  Radial-ply and snow tires give out a high-pitched moving roar and whine, akin to the noise made by defective gears. Other uniquely designed tires may equally produce the roaring and whining noises. Deterioration in the CV or universal joints may emit clicking sounds or overly drive-line play which may be wrongly diagnosed as a differential defect. By the same token, trim or moldings may emit whistling as well as whining sounds. The parts must be inspected thoroughly to guarantee they are not discharging the noises before disassembling the whole drive axle. Nevertheless, if there are incessant clunks when the automated transmission is being operated or during the release and application of throttle, this is due to complete or partial axle backlash. This requires immediate repair and replacement of worn out parts to prevent the problem from exacerbating farther. Malfunctioning rollers and pinion bearings will also cause whistles due to inadequate lubrication. Broken rollers, pinion gear setups and bearings should be replaced as they also aggravate problems by destroying functioning components. In case the differential produces too much noise, it is not always necessary to drive the car to the repair shop as the axle housing is retractile. The degree of damage on the differential determines what will be required to meliorate the noises, it may call for rebuilding, modifying the housing or replacing the ring, pinion or bearings. Though the axle shaft emits noises similar to the gears and pinion bearings, it gives out a whining sound that persists in every driving mode. Defective components should be sloughed off and replaced with new sets, for instance wheel seals or bearings. Clicking, whining and clunking sounds emanating from a vehicle intimate an underlying defect, especially if it is persistent. Unsettling sounds should not be ignored; immediate diagnosis may unearth latent defects while forestalling the spread of damage to other components.