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Knocking noise from front wheels

Hi everyone,

I was hoping for some help troubleshooting a problem that just started we just started to notice on my wife’s 2009 Ford Focus. The noticed a knocking noise from the front wheels tonight when turning or coming out of a turn. To call it a knocking noise may be a bit dramatic - it’s probably more of a clunk or a more pronounced rubbing noise. It’s a noise that we can both feel in the floor boards. I haven’t driven it since the problem started, but my wife mentioned that there was a bit of side-to-side vibration in the steering wheel when it happens. Based on what I’ve read, it sounds like ball joints, but I can’t say for certain. She says that she hasn’t noticed any impact on how the car handles, but I’m sure it’s coming. We were planning on replacing the car in November, as it has become a bit of a problem child, but I am trying to figure out if a new car just became more of a priority. If the repair cost would be equal to or more than the down payment for a new car, I’d rather just expedite that process.

Any input you have would be appreciated!

What you’re describing is the classic indication of a worn outer CV joint.


Thanks for your reply! I’m reading up on it - is that typically a costly repair? Also, how long does it typically take from the time the problem manifests itself til the time the car becomes a hazard to drive (if it isn’t already)? Sorry for the questions, just trying to figure out the best route forward for a car we were looking to replace anyway (albeit in another month or two).

It’s not a costly repair if that’s the problem.

The noise will get louder and louder until the CV joint fails and breaks.

When that happens, the vehicle will no longer move. So it’ll require a tow to get it repaired.

I suggest that you bring it in to have it checked out before that occurs.


As for how long it may last… I put 30000 on one before selling it. Not saying yours will last that long.

Here’s what a bad CV-joint sounds like.


Would you also describe it as a clicking type of noise while making turns?

If so, one or more of your cv axleshafts may be toast

I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the outer cv axle shaft boots is visibly torn . . . if so, it’s a slam dunk. replace that axleshaft

Not an overly expensive repair, if that is in fact the problem

Thank you for this. I would say that it’s more of a thud than a high pitched clicking noise. My first thought when I heard it was that it sounded like the tires were full of water and it was sloshing around (they definitely aren’t, but it was a low pitched noise).