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Creaky door hinge sound from rear end of car

2007 Chevy Impala 1LT
3.5L Flex Fuel 6 cyl engine
auto trans
50,500 miles

Note: All new struts and tires one year ago (approx 7,000 miles ago) after hitting raised pavement road hazard on interstate at 70 mph and bottoming out car. Entire suspension system was thoroughly examined for damage at the time and only struts, tires and one front wheel bearing needed repair/replacement. Also, just passed safety and emissions inspection about six weeks ago prior to this new creaking sound appearing.

PROBLEM: Since weather turned cold about two weeks ago, an intermittent “creaky door hinge” sound in the car rear end when driving over rough spots and to a lesser extent sometimes when turning. No noticeable change in how the car handles, rides, steers, brakes, etc. Just the creaky door hinge sound from somewhere in the rear end. No recent hitting of pot holes or other reason I can think of for why this has started other than the advent of cold weather. Pushing down hard on the trunk and trunk corners does not reproduce the sound, although I can’t really push down all that hard so that is no proof one way or the other.

Any suggestions what this might be? Dry bushing? Strut? Spring? Malevolent gremlins with pitchforks?

Please note, due to physical limitations, I cannot do much other than take this to the mechanic for diagnosis and fix. But I would appreciate feedback suggestions so I have a better idea of how serious this might be.

Thank you.

…still reading, still learning


I believe that your first suspicion–dry bushings–is likely to be the problem.
However, you should have the mechanic do a full inspection of the suspension when he puts the car up on the lift in order to lube the bushings.

I agree with VDC. I’ll add that bushings are rubber, and rubber does shrink when it gets cold. Worn, six-years-dry, and shrunken, it can creak. I’ve found that the most common seems to be the bushings that hold the antisway bar to the unibody. The bar twists in the rubber bushings constantly as you drive, and they wear the holes bigger. The movement even wears grooves in the metal bar.

The only suggestion I can add is to have your mechanic visually show you anything he finds dn explain it.

Thank you for the feedback. I’ll follow up on this. It will be at least a week before I can get the car into the shop but once I have the problem solved I’ll try to remember to post back here with the results.

Always a pleasure to receive helpful responses here on the forum. I do appreciate it.

…still reading, still learning

UPDATE: Turns out the rear stabilizer bar bushings are worn enough to require replacement. So that is being done. And since it is time for a four wheel alignment, that also is being done along with the oil change that is due.

Even though the car is low mileage, it is seven years old (bought Nov 2006) and most of my driving is local streets full of pot holes and making lots of turns. C’est la vie. Machines require maintenance to keep them operating safely and with longevity.

Thanks again for your earlier responses.

“Machines require maintenance to keep them operating safely and with longevity.”

If most car owners were as wise as you are, everyone would be a lot safer, and there would be fewer breakdowns on the road.

And in the long end it costs less to keep up with pro-active maintenance and also to address any issues as soon as possible before the problem gets worse and creates damage to additional parts and systems of the car. I’m sure many people would tell me to just live with the irritating noise that alerted me to the issue but I figure that the bushings for the stabilizer bar exist for a very good reason as part of the suspension system, so might as well fix it now rather than let it go.

An alignment should have been done when the struts were replaced. Unless your roads are REALLY bad, you shouldn’t need one this soon. This is not routine maintenance, IMO.

@NYBo – Yes, an alignment was done when the struts were replaced. And, yes, the local roads around here have LOTS of potholes.

I was given the readouts of the car’s alignment on all four wheels of what it read before and after the alignment done yesterday after the new bushings were installed.

The readout numbers were:

Before Alignment Measurements:

Left Front: -1.5 Camber, 0.34 Toe
Right Front: -0.5 Camber, -0.16 Toe
Front Total Toe: 0.18
Front Steer Ahead: 0.25
Left Rear: -0.7 Camber, 0.07 Toe
Right Rear: -.0.8 Camber, -0.14 Toe
Rear Total Toe: -0.07
Rear Thrust Angle: 0.10

After Alignment Measurements:

Left Front: -1.2 Camber, 0.06 Toe
Right Front: -0.6 Camber, 0.05 Toe
Front Total Toe: -0.07
Front Steer Ahead: 0.00
Left Rear: -0.7 Camber, 0.08 Toe
Right Rear: -0.8 Camber, 0.13 Toe
Rear Total Toe: 0.21
Rear Thrust Angle: -0.02

Per the graphic printout showing the before and after measurements, I can see that the before measurements for the left front camber, right front toe, and right rear toe were only slightly out of the “green zone” of proper alignment but the left front toe was notably off and the front steer ahead was way off. Otherwise the alignment had held well from the previous alignment when the damaged struts and one wheel bearing were replaced last year.

Unfortunately, one negative about this 2007 Impala is that it tends not to hold alignment well and it has to be re-aligned about every 12 to 24 months depending of whether or not some idiot with their attention on a cell phone has run me into a curb or not to avoid a head-on collision. If I were doing lots of highway driving I’m sure it would go notably farther between alignments but, again, 95% of my driving is short trips with lots of stops in one loop of errands, local streets, potholes, etc. As a result, I follow servicing guidelines for “severe” use of the car as well as making a point of taking it out for a good run on the interstate about once a month.

Speaking of which, the car just got a good run of almost 800 miles of high speed interstate driving several weeks ago. I drove to a funeral on short notice and then scurried back home ahead of a major ice and snow storm, so ended up driving faster and harder than I have in some time. I’m used to making that particular trip and even fudging a bit on the speed limit but this is the first time in many years that I cranked it up way above the limit and kept rolling with almost no rest stops. Lucky I didn’t get any speeding tickets. The speed limit varied between 65 - 70 mph but I averaged rolling at about 85 mph despite it being a very windy both days of driving. My hands are still hurting from such a drive but I got there in time for the visitation and funeral and beat the ice storm getting back home. The steering wheel is leather wrapped but I may try investing in a pair of driving gloves before the next time I’m making such a long drive.

If you have stabelizer links I would be looking at those. Normally a lifetime item, ie lifetime is over and replacements can come with zirc fittings to allow you to grease them.

@Barkydog Thank you. I’ll ask about that.

It sounds like you are on top of this. But remember that weird noises could be caused by simple things too, like the jack coming loose from its moorings. Whenever a noise problem pops up, good idea to remove everything from inside the car and trunk, including the spare tire and jack, and see if that makes the noise go away.

@GeorgeSanJose – Good idea! Thank you.