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

Creaking sound coming from back end? 99 Olds Cutlass

Some of you may recognize my username or posts about my 99 olds cutlass, and if you do, you've likely given me advice, and thank you. My car wouldn't still be driving, nor would I have any money, if it wasn't for all of you. Now on to the latest problem:

99 Olds Cutlass, 140k miles. When going over uneven pavement, up inclines or over bumps, the car makes a creaking sound, like a cross between stepping on an old floorboard and basketball sneakers scuffing the court. It sounds and (feels?) like its coming from the back end, but I do know the front left wheel bearing needs replacement. I recently had a right front caliper replaced after a friend blew out the tire and crunched the rim on a bad pothole. It went a good 20 miles, give or take, on a donut in between repairs. I know this is not good for the alignment of the car. Trust me, I did not approve this usage. Along with the creaking is a sound similar to bottoming out, although it happens when going over bumps, and I know for a fact nothing is truly bottoming out.

It's going into the mechanics as soon as I get to a vacation day from work, in the meantime, is it an issue that needs to be fixed before a drive another mile, or can it wait a few days? My average usage of the car is about 20 miles/day. Any thoughts on what it might be? I have a hard time changing my own oil, but my research suggests maybe tire rods, ball joints, arm bushings? Or even worse, *gulp* struts?

Thanks everyone.

If the noise is actually coming from the rear of the car, then it is likely to be from dry bushings in the rear suspension–an annoying but not dangerous problem.

However that is just my best guess from afar. It could also be a case of loose rear shocks, or a disconnected exhaust system hanger, or…

If the noise is actually being telegraphed from the front of the car (and this is possible), then it could be the result of bad tie rod ends (not tire rods), or dry ball joints, or…

Most likely the car is safe to drive, but I suggest that you have it put on a lift for a complete suspension check sooner, rather than later.

Thanks for the advice. I took it to the Cape without a problem. The mechanic installed a wheel bearing I knew needed to be replaced for a while, and after looking at the car thoroughly, he said the rear track bars need replacing. He offered a hefty price for fixing them, but said this is because he can only get them from the dealer and they’re on backorder. He suggested I find the parts online so they’re cheaper and he’ll put them in for just labor cost.

My question is:

I see very few options for this car in terms of track bar availability. One of the most common brands I can find is MOOG, but I don’t want to put any old part in my car. Is MOOG an acceptable brand? Is there anything special I need to know about buying track bars?

Thanks very much!

In my experience, MOOG makes good-quality automotive products.
Personally, I wouldn’t hesitate to install MOOG track bars on the car.