Clunking Noise with Rear Shocks - Again!

2018 Honda Civic - around 6 months ago I had new rear shocks put in. About a month later I was involved in a near hit accident where I broke extremely hard to avoid rear ending someone. Immediately after that I began hearing that typical light clunking noise where it sounds like something is loose, coming from the driver side rear wheel when going over small bumps and sewer caps on more quieter roads/side streets. I did a ton of trouble shooting with several mechanics and finally realized it was the shocks. They were replaced under warrantee and the sound was gone.

Now some 6 months later, the same exact noise is coming from the PASSENGER side rear wheel. What in the world is going on here? Is it possible something happened during the near accident and hard brake that did damage back there and something is causing the rear shocks to fail in this vehicle?

Thank you in advance.

locking up the rear brakes would not cause any damage to the vehicle or the shocks. the shocks that you had put on could just be low quality or defective.

Thanks for your response. It’s just ironic that the first time this happened 6 months ago it was right after the hard brake. I agree and I’m starting to think the shocks really are low quality or just aren’t a good “fit” for my particular vehicle, perhaps. Maybe I should call Honda and get their input?

Why did you install new rear shocks 6 months ago, where did you get them and what brand were they?

Honda typically uses Showa shocks that last a very long time so I am curious as to why you wohld replace them.

It’s a bit of a ridiculous story, but long story short I was having another issue with a noise coming from the rear wheels of the vehicle and the foolish mechanic thought it was the shocks. Turns out it was a wheel bearing (Honda replaced under warrantee). So, essentially I paid for new shocks I didn’t need. So, essentially I got rid of one headache but apparently took a new one on. That being said, the shocks are KYB’s which to my knowledge are good quality shocks. But maybe they’re not good for Honda Civic’s, who knows. Just frustrated at this point.

Have you looked in trunk?

1 Like

you said it is the same noise as the driver’s side wheel bearing you had replaced. maybe it is the passenger side wheel bearing now and not the shocks.

@weekend-warrior No. You’ve gotten confused. Forget about the wheel bearing. That was something that was fixed before the clunking noise began at all.

@Cavell Hi. It has nothing to do with anything in the trunk. I tried that route the first time this noise started 6 months ago. It is 100% the shocks. The noise went away when I had the new shocks replaced under warrantee. Now the same noise is back again under the new shocks.

The top mount for the shocks is a prime spot to investigate for noise. More than the shock itself. The shock change can mask it but the mount isolates the shock from the car body. Look there.

1 Like

Thanks, but given that the noise went away when I replaced the shock 6 months ago wouldn’t that point to the fact that it’s specifically the shocks? Or do mounts and shocks come together when installing?

No it doesn’t always point to the shocks. The 2 parts are a system that work together. Changing one affects the other and may fix a noise or make it worse.

And no, the type of mount used with this car is not normally changed with the shocks, as far as I can tell.

Full disclosure… I spent over 20 years designing and vehicle testing shocks and suspension systems…

I will have them specifically look at the mounts, then. Thanks. Now that I think about it what you’re saying could very well make sense. If the mounts are the problem you could put any shocks in there and they may give off a noise.

1 Like

So you installed new rear shocks, later had a hard stop, then started hearing a noise from the driver’s left rear. At that point did you just replace the driver’s left rear shock, or did you replace both rear shocks?

Regarding the rear suspension design, is your Civic equipped with struts (with an incorporated shock), or the coil-over version of shocks? If you aren’t sure, look on the underside of the car. A strut bolts right to the wheel ass’y. A shock fastens in a similar way, but uses rubber bushings.

You haven’t replaced any springs, only the shock components in any event, right?

@Mustangman Does the super hard brake and the noise starting after that (the first time around 6 months ago) mean anything to you? Do you feel it’s possible something could have been damaged that would trigger this noise in my shocks?

@George_San_Jose1 Correct, to your first sentence. Even though the noise was clearly coming from the drivers rear tire (went over bumps with just that), I had both shocks replaced under warrantee. Now 6 months later the noise is back, but on the passenger rear tire. Only the shock components were replaced, yes.

Hard braking could adversely affect a rear suspension system that was already worn to near its acceptable limit. When you step hard on the brakes the front of the car goes down and the rear goes up, placing strain on all of the suspension components. The symptoms you are describing are consistent with something being loose. Could be the strut/shocks at either end, or could be the control arm bushings, links, etc. Suspension links are a common source of weird noises from reports here.

The first thing I will have them check are the top mounts of the shocks

1 Like

Unlikely. These are shocks, not struts. They only damp motions, not suppport the car. They don’t even hold the spring. The testing the car undergoes is 10 times more violent than a hard brake and noise after would be a design fail.

I noticed we were never told how many miles the car had on it…

Not reading everything, but I think it may be a feature of Honda shocks. We barely had 20,000 on our Acura and got the clunking noise in back. Couldn’t figure it out, Took everything out and even rode in the back trying to identify it. Finally took it in to the dealer and they knew right away it was the rear shocks. No problem since though but no reason to think they won’t fail again.

The car has 48k on it.

Brought it to a mechanic today who drove it, then lifted it to look around. The clunking is now so bad that I can hear it over virtually any slight imperfection in the road. To the eye he said he could see nothing but thinks its “Likely” the mounts and that if I do it I should replace both. Am I wrong to think it’s strange how this can’t be diagnosed? I told him I have no interest in paying hundreds of dollars to replace parts if we don’t know if that’s going to fix the problem.

I really don’t want to bring this car to Honda for their opinion as they would charge me an arm and a leg for new mounts I’m sure, plus I just don’t like the whole experience of going there in general. Really a frustrating ordeal I’m in here again, where this problem basically cannot be pinpointed. Anyone else’s thoughts would be appreciated.

OE Honda (Showa) shocks don’t go bad at 40K miles. KYB shocks don’t go bad at 8K miles. They just don’t. You could get a rare bad one… but 2? From 2 different manufacturers? Highly unlikely.

1 Like