CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Clicking under floorboard when turning

I’ve got a noticeable clicking that I can feel under my feet when I make a turn. It’s not there all the time, seems to be worse on rainy days. My first thought was that it was the CV joint, but when I took it in today they put it on the lift and said that the boot is fine.

Could the joint still be bad if they can’t see a problem with the boot? Should I take it somewhere else? It just seems pretty likely to be the CV joint, but I suppose it could be something else.

Thanks!

Regardless whether the boot is intact the joint may be causing the noise. A good mechanic can usually raise the front end, shift to neutral and turn the front wheels by grasping the CV joints and determine if they are worn and causing the click. Most good mechanics can drove the car in a quiet parking lot and make an accurate determination of the condition of CV joints. I have installed a few CV axles that were bad out of the box.

Thanks. The type/location of the clicking seems to fit with all the stuff I’ve read about CV joints and I’d prefer for my wheel to not lock up someday when I’m driving 80 MPH on the highway.

Any way to test the joint without replacing it, or do you just have to replace it first? I’m a bit broke (aren’t we all!).

Yikes, it also seems to fit well with a bad wheel bearing because of the fact that it’s not just a clicking but also a noticeable pop that you can feel in your feet. Either way, seems dangerous and I’ll take it somewhere else where maybe they’ll actually take me seriously.

The clicking and the pop during a turn are almost certainly a CV joint, not a bearing. Bearings don’t “pop”.

Click on the “Mechanics Files” tab on this site to find a recommended mechanic near you. The one you took it to apparently isn’t really interested in solving your problem.

Okay, the new shop is saying the front sway bar needs to be replaced. Does that sound reasonable?

It could be the sway bar if you’re only getting one click/pop in a turn, or if the clicks/pops are clearly not related to the rate of wheel rotation.

On the other hand, if the click/pop is rhythmic and clearly related to the rate of wheel rotation, then it’s more likely to be the CV joint.

I’m assuming your new mechanic took it for a test drive and determined for himself that it wasn’t the CV joint.

My daughters car did this…She took it to a mechanic who pumped some grease into the intact boot with a needle and massaged the grease into the joint. It’s been fine ever since…

@Becky: Are you using a private independent mechanic, or a major chain company (Sears, Walmart, Pepboys etc)? If the latter, it’s generally advised here to avoid such places and find a locally owned shop. Talk with friends who are car savvy, and also take a look at the link for “Mechanics Files” at the top of this page for recommendations on shops in your area. If you find one you like, make it clear to them you’ll be a regular customer…what you get back for your loyalty will be worth quite a lot.

In my limited experience, I had a problem while far from home which turned out to be a CV joint, but it fooled a couple mechanics who didn’t think that caused the symptoms (not the typical clicking, but something else). Lacking an explanation I had to keep looking. Another shop was confident it was the CV joint, and that solved the problem. The point is that maybe these are harder to diagnose than commonly assumed. Not saying your issue is - or is not - the CV, but that it may not be easy to be certain, which may be why you’re getting conflicting advice. Good luck!

Clicking while turning in a FWD vehicle is almost certainly a CV joint. If you’d mentioned what you’re diving and the year and mileage I could be even more confident in my guess. If you would please?

The outer CV joints are basically a ball joint with slots in the ball and in the socket into which are held balls, kept in place by “races”, like a ball bearing. The ball & socket allows articulation and the small balls in the slots transmit the torque. When they wear to where the balls are no longer smooth, or when they dry out, you can hear the balls moviung in their slots and they click.

A single “pop” could be sway bar related, but it would be the bar binding in the frame bushings or more likely the bar’s end links binding up. I’ve included a skatch that should help clarify. The sway bar is connected to the suspended hardware by a small rod with a form of ball joint in each end. They’re permanently lubricated, but not IMHO well. They do bind up as they age. Page 2 of the attached drawing shows a sway bar and its attachments. For the bar itself to break would be extremely rare, a true anomolie.

http://tijil.org/Scion_Docs/05_tC_Shop_Manuals/Repair%20Info/Repair%20Manual/Rear%20Suspension/Rear%20Suspension/conponen.pdf

I realized I have never posted an update here.

I drive a 2007 Nissan Versa with about 48,000 miles.

Both places I took the car were local places that were highly recommended. The first place was disappointing because when it didn’t click/pop for them, they dismissed me with the “are you sure, little lady?” condescending attitude. I hate that.

The second shop kept the car for a couple days and kept taking it out for little drives until it finally clicked/popped for them. They noticed that it only did the popping when on uneven roads, which they took to confirm that it was likely the sway bar linkages. For $100 they replaced the linkages and it hasn’t done the clicking/popping since then. Now I guess I just wait and see if it comes back and then think about replacing the CV joint if it does.

Sounds to me like they got the diagnosis right.

One method I’ve used to check the linkages in the past (they can be difficult to check with the weight off the wheels) is to drive slowly over a speed bump at an angle, so that one wheel hits it first, then the other. That stresses the sway bar and its links - also the strut mounts and other components, but if it makes the noise when going over it at an angle but not when going over the bump straight on (or the noise is MUCH less), then the links are a prime candidate, IMO…

Thanks for the followup. It really is appreciated, but I understand what it’s like to get busy and have it fall away into the backround.

The “pop” should be gone for good. Sway bar links do that. They pop, they creak, they make people think their cars are falling apart.