Isolating a front suspension noise

I have a 2001 Ford Escort 2.0 172k miles. The car’s front end is making a knocking/thumping noise at any speed and I was told I need struts, wheel bearings, outer tie rod ends and front axles.Is it possible to need all of these things done at the same time and can all them be causing the noise if it started a week ago? Or, is this because he can’t narrow down the root cause and it’s easier to replace everything without really troubleshooting?

That’s the answer. Another answer would not be as diplomatic with regards to the mechanic.

Ask at least 2-3 estimates from independant shop around where you live.Avoid the dealer if you can because they are usually much more expensive.Some common parts to be replaced are the stabilizer bar links that go bad because of bad roads. They clunk every time you hit a small bump on the road.

One area to check for this kind of noise are worn/cracked sway bar bushings.


I’m not hearing any noises with with speed bumps. Thank you!

I just dropped it off at the dealer thinking they can better isolate the problem. I’m hoping they say that I won’t need all those parts replaced. Thank you!

So, all of those don’t need replacing at the same time? He didn’t charge me so I think he didn’t spend the time to look more deeply at the car.

I won’t be at the dealership for diagnosing to look. I hope he knows to look for this. Thank you!

No, but I think that both You and the mechanic would have been better off if he had done a proper diagnose of the problem(s) and charged You 50 bucks for that.
Btw. I would not have taken it to a dealer, but I understand Your situation. A well recommended independent shop would, in my oppinion, be preferred.

The dealer was my last resort. The first shop said I needed a new transmission, engine and front suspension. Second shop said just front suspension. I definitely don’t have trouble shifting gears and engine drives well. They also didn’t charge me and I would have happily paid to diagnose the car. This is two shops now that don’t want to really work on my car. They both said it was more economical to buy a new car. Last year two different shops wouldn’t work on my car. What is this, nobody wants to fix my poor old car? Unreal!!

For the future.
End of edit.
Could You ask family, friends, neighbours or work mates for a good recommendation for a shop, good at working on - well - an old jallopy.
Problem is many times, an owner of an -11 model something in otherwise good condition will not start hollering at an estimate of 2k money, whereas You will. It’s more than it is worth.
The best would be a shop who will care for customers on the lower steps of the social ladder. And i’m NOT in any way implying that You are one of them, but it is still an old jall… I mean car :innocent:.
Hey, I have 3 cars from the sixties and my new car is from -95 so I’m kinda used to that term.

Going to the dealer was NOT a bad choice. You will pay more for diagnostics but they know the car better and they have access to technical service bulletins (TSBs) that sometimes will let them know of any recurring issues. Be sure to ask when you drop it off or pick it up if they have searched through the TSBs for this issue. When you get the diagnostic, you can still get it fixed elsewhere if you want.


Good thoughts and suggestions, thanks.

LOL! Everyone I know has new cars and don’t bother with repairs so no recommendations are available. You’re right about going to another area perhaps.

There should be a reason why each of those parts needs to be replaced, you should ask the shop to explain the estimate to you. I’m guessing leaking struts, noisy wheel bearings, loose tie rod ends and torn axle boots.

You wouldn’t want to pay to have a noisy bushing replaced and then learn that your car needs much more work and is unsafe to drive.

There is a thin red bar across the top of the page. Click on Mechanics Files and see recommendations for shops near you. The car is 18 years old. Don’t be surprised if a lot of what you were told about your car is repeated at any other shops you visit.

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Just guessing here . The shop has an idea of what your vehicle is worth in good condition and they know that to repair it properly the cost will be higher than the vehicles value . They don’t want the hassle of getting yelled at or having to file a lien because you decided it was not worth paying that amount of money. Not that you would do that but it happens more than it should. Also 18 year Escort suspension parts might be hard to find or take a while to source.

I didn’t know you could even do something like that. I did ask for aftermarket parts which should be less costly. I think Ford dealership will insist on Ford parts though.

The dealer will probably say it needs even more work. they look at it 2 ways. Either you pay it and they make a good sum of money, or the estimate is so high they can convince you to use that total as a down payment for financing on a new car (from them of course) they win on both scenarios.

They will.

Well, they said that the front suspension needs replacing and that it is all dire! I’m not having them do it and don’t have the money to buy a car from them! Is it possible that it’s all dire?