89 Nissan Sentra Front end clicks on sharp turns

sentra
noises

#1

I have an 89 Nissan Sentra with 250k miles. When I make a sharp turn there is a clicking/clunking (c/c) sound that comes from the left front. The (c/c) rate corresponds to the speed of the car. The sound goes away when I straighten the wheels. It is more evident when I make a sharp right turn compared to a sharp left turn.



My car slid off the road and went into a snow bank this winter. The left front wheel took most of the stress. However this noise didn’t start until two months after this accident.



I love this car but it is old and I don?t want to spend a lot of moola to fix it. I am afraid that if I take it to a mechanic, I will get hosed.



Does anybody have an idea concerning this?



Many Thanks!!!


#2

That sound is usually worn out Constant Velocity (CV) joints.

CV joints are basically a ball in a socket interlocked with small ball bearings in slots. When they dry up and/or wear out the ball bearings can make clicking sounds as they move within the slots.

Take it to an independently owned and operated shop. They’ll replace the “half ahaft” (the axle containing the CV joint). But be prepared, because doing so is a lot of work and it’ll cost you.


#3

Thanks a lot! This makes sense as I have not replaced these for some time!


#4

As Mountainbike says – this sounds like a classic case of CV joint failure. CV joint failure happens fairly often, although most vehicles go to that great junkyard in the sky with their CV original CV joints still in the car. The good news is that CV joints are not normally a safety problem so you can probably continue to drive the car while you consider what to do. The normal progression would be that they will get worse and worse, and one will eventually break which will leave you stranded whereever you happen to be when it breaks.

The bad news is that replacing them is a lot of work so it will cost a number of hundreds of dollars – each. And on an 89 I wouldn’t be surprised that the mechanic identifies a lot of other parts like tie rod ends (which ARE a safety issue) that aren’t in great shape.

How much further do you plan to drive this car? If you plan to drive it only a few thousand more miles and don’t plan any long trips, then you could consider not fixing it. It might well last that long. I have trouble believing that a 20 year old car that needs hundreds of dollars worth of front end work has any actual resale value. If you don’t have the skills and tools to fix it yourself, I’d consider giving it to someone who does. Maybe they can invest a lot of hours and a couple of hundred dollars for parts and end up with a vehicle that might be good for another 20-50K.