1998 Toyota Avalon & Clunking Sound

I own a 98 avalon. It has begun making a clunking sound in its rear end. When I had my local mechanic look at it he said it needs new struts. Does that sound right to you? If so, what does it cost to replace both of them? Finally, do I need to have a wheel alignment if I have only the back struts replaced.


My ES needed rear bushings, not struts, to cure its clunking - better be sure.

I will second the idea that you should be sure - get a second opinion, as clunking can come from a lot of things, and the last thing I would suspect is that it is from the struts themselves - unless they’re so bad that they bottom out a lot. Is the clunking only over bumps? If so, does it take a fairly big bump or do you even get it w/ little bumps?

And you will need an alignment after the struts - if that is what you end up with.

Yes. The clunking can be caused by the struts. But not because the struts themselves are worn, but instead because the top strut rubber mounting bushings are worn. These bushings isolate the strut rods from their mounting holes. When these bushings get old, they shrink and crack where the strut rod comes in contact with it’s mounting hole. This results in a clunking sound from the rear of the vehicle when bumps are encountered.

What I did with my Toyota vehicles when they got this old and did this was, removed the rear package shelf to access the top strut mounting nuts, and with an air ratchet and socket, cranked down on those strut nuts. Sometimes this squashed the bushings enough to stop the noise. And if it didn’t work, it meant removing the strut to replace the bushings. And if you’ve got to take out a strut that’s never been replaced, might as well replace it.