My car’s wheel is making a clanking noise when I drive…it comes and goes, but when it comes, it loud. It almost sounds like metal ball bearings or a metal stick being rotated in a metal can. Any idea what it is. I’ve brought it into a couple of mechanics and they couldn’t figure out what it is. The sound is not consistent, so it’s tough to replicate on cue. My car is a 2002 Toyota Camry LE. Any ideas!!! Please help!
Can’t tell from here, but those noises are often from worn/dried/cracked elastomeric components like strut mounts, sway bar bushings, and trailing arms.
A rusted cat converter heat shield or loose exgaust hanger can make clanking noises too.
Is there any specific operating condition under which it’s most common.
It’s tough to say there’s any specific condition it’s more common. The sound only exists when the car is moving…typically at slower city speeds rather than highway speeds. There is no consistency over bumps, potholes, turning corners. Once driven for several miles (maybe 5-10 miles) after a cold start, it will become less prevalent, but may come back once in a while. It’s almost like whatever is “clanging” around either gets stuck somewhere or heat has “softened” it to make it non-audible.
Thoughts? Ball bearing hub assembly? I had my struts with sway bars, etc., replaced about 15-20K miles ago and the cat converter replaced about 10-15K miles ago.
Can you get this vehicle elevated safely and securely and slide under it and aggressively shake things? That’s how I usually find clunks.
Are you sure that it is a rear wheel? There isn’t all that much back there to fail. I would assume that the mechanics checked the wheel bearings and struts. Maybe something loose inside the muffler? Torsion bars? If the brakes are drum brakes something may have broken and dumped a part into the wheel drum where it is bouncing around. A couple of years ago, I had a drum brake where the adhesive failed and the braking material separated from the shoe. It made some very odd noises at times.