Feels like i hit something, but nothing's there

I have a 2001 toyota highlander with just over 60k miles on it. Yesterday when I was pulling into a parking spot it felt like I hit a bump, but there wasn’t anything there. Then a little while later, I was making a turn and felt the same thing. My brother drove the car last night and felt the same thing again. He thought he hit something, but there wasn’t anything there.

Any idea what this problem could be? My mom thought it might be the transmission, I thought maybe the brakes and my brother suggested a suspension problem. I’m currently visiting my parents 300 miles from home with a 5 week old baby. I was going to drive home tomorrow but don’t want to take any chances if there’s a problem with the car.

Any ideas? Thanks.

could be a problem with a tire. But then you would feel the bump more consistently.

If it’s only happening while you’re turning, then it is a suspension problem, most likely a ball joint, tie-rod of CV joint.

Unless you have a 2wd version, I’d suspect a binding CV joint. That is the only thing that I can think of that would actually cause the suspension to rise suddenly like hitting a bump. It would be more likely to occur in a turn, but it could happen while going straight ahead.

Look for a split boot, that would be the first sign. It could still occur in a CV joint that has never been driven with a split or torn boot if a bearing came out of its race.

It’s the all wheel drive version. So far it has always occurred while turning. How serious is a split CV joint? (Actually, what is a CV joint?).

Thanks for all the help.

I just looked up what a CV joint is (I should have done that before posting before). Anyway, I’ll try to look for a split boot. That would be something on the end of the axles, right? I’m thinking this sounds serious enough that I should just take it to the dealership tomorrow and postpone my trip home, what do you think?

Yes, it’s potentially serious enough to require fixing before you drive at highway speed.


Normally I’d say no, CV joints rarely fail catastrophically, but in your case, I’d make an exception. You should have it looked at.

If the joints check out, the AWD F/R differential is the next place to look. Sometimes it’s just a matter of changing the lubricant, which is some sort of “magic” stuff available at dealers…

I have an air conditioning door that clunks a lot and it had me worried for a while. Got any junk in the back that’s round? Do you have plastic door compartments?

As the others have said, have it checked out just to make sure. It could be lots of things. I had a strange clunk in my front suspension a couple of years ago that turned out to be a screwdriver that I had dropped under the hood, it had somehow ended up inside my front coil spring and would occasionally make a clunk noise.