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Broken Strut?

2007 Chevrolet Impala 1LT
Automatic Transmission
3.5L Flex Fuel Engine
42,000 miles
All maintenance kept up per recommended schedule

PROBLEM: Possible broken left front strut and/or other damage?

SYMPTOMS: Hit a section of buckled road with a significant pot hole on far side of the uplifted segment of pavement on the highway at about 70-75 mph. (Surprised I didn’t blow one or more tires!) Car now has a loose rumble in the left front that is noticable on rough pavement about 70% of the time. I can hear and slightly feel the loose rumble in the front left wheel area. Steering and handling has not been affected. The overall suspension seems no worse than before (although this Impala has never had a very smooth ride.)

Mechanic inspected the underside of vehicle and found points of contact left and right middle of undercarriage, more significantly on left side. Found nothing loose or apparently damaged and could not hear rumble during 3 mile test drive over rough roads.

In all fairness, it is storming this morning with heavy rain and thunder. I kept the scheduled appointment to get the oil changed and this problem looked at anyway. Even I, knowing the difference in sound and feel since hitting the bad pavement, can barely detect the sound this morning. When I push down hard on each of the four corners of the car, it doesn’t bounce/sway any differently or more than normal.

The mechanic can find no apparent safety problem at this time and both he and the service writer recommend I drive the car for now and bring it back on a dry, quiet weather day for a second try at them hearing/feeling the rumble rather than just throw parts/money at the problem without being sure what is wrong. That seems quite reasonable to me!

QUESTION: Given that the point of contact is quite noticable on the undercarriage in the middle of the car, worse on the left side where I’m hearing the rumble, is there anything I should be concerned about in addition to the struts, shocks, and tires as having possible damage that can continue to deteriorate?

Thank you.

I’ll add that when driving over road that has noticable seams between cement segments, there is now a rather loud ringing hollow sound from the entire undercarriage that is new.

There is a possibility that you’ve damaged a wheel bearing. You might be able to hear or feel it by jacking up the wheel and spinning it by hand.

Oh, that never occurred to me. I’ve had a dry wheel bearing on a previous car many years ago and know the screech from that.

My neighbor works on his cars all the time. I’ll ask him to help me do as you suggest sometime this weekend when the storms have gone.

Thank you Mountainbike.

I will second mountainbike’s theory about the noise/rumbling possibly being the result of a bad wheel bearing. Please have your neighbor follow-up on this possibility.

Thank you VDC. If the neighbor isn’t available to help over the weekend I’ll get the shop to check this possibility next week.

There’s a chance this could be related to a splash shield, inner fender, or whatnot also. Some plastic widget knocked loose can vibrate or flap a bit in the breeze and create a rumble sound of sorts.

If I remember correctly you recently had an issue with an inner fender, etc but I think this was on the right front. My memory is a bit fuzzy. :slight_smile:

Your memory is good OK. It was the right front inner fender that wasn’t secured exactly right after the water pump had to be replaced. However that was fixed immediately afterwards and has not been an issue since.

In addition to the current rumble and minor loose wobble I feel in the front left, despite it not affecting steering or handling any, what is quite noticable is the loud echoing, at times literally ringing, hollow sound from the entire undercarriage when I go over paving seams. Very strange.