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Knocking sound with every rotation of wheel

Starting about 100 miles ago I began getting a knocking sound from my left front wheel, which was not very noticeable at first, but now is. There is one knock with each rotation of the wheel that can be felt a little bit through the steering wheel. I suspect either the wheel bearings or a CV joint. But one thing confuses me–when under heavy acceleration or while braking, the sound & feeling almost completely disappear. I would not have guessed to get that behaviour from either of the 2 problems I suspect. Any ideas? Do one of these problems usually exhibit this kind of behaviour?

The knocking noise might be coming from a brake pad where the retaining clips/hardware has worn out where the brake pad is now loose and is able to grab the rotor, be thrown against the caliper to make knocking noise.

When was the last time the brakes were inspected?


I replaced the brakes with ceramic about a year ago, they are still in great shape. Also replaced all the tires about 2 months ago. I don’t see anything stuck in the tire, and the sound does not seem to change depending on how far the steering wheel is to one side or the other.

Lift the front wheels off the ground (and set the front end on stands), and turn it slowly by hand. You should be able to feel it if it’s that bad. You might even be able to see it on the drive axle in the form of a visible “click”. Not sure how to describe it better than that.

Find a big open space, and accelerate then decelerate while holding the wheel firmly all the way left, then all the way right. The sounds should change, depending on which way you’re turning. You don’t need to hit any great speeds, just put some stress on it. If they do, CV.

I replaced the brakes with ceramic about a year ago

All the more reason to remove the wheel and inspect them.

Hope it isnt a CV joint… They can do this also…AND also…when the center nut that holds the CV joint/splined output shaft onto the front hub gets LOOSE…you can hear a sound like this. Aside from that jeez there are quite a few things that can make this sound also…brakes/rotors…a LOOSE wheel…

Jack up the front of the car and look around…grab the wheels and see if you have unwarranted movement in a ball joint or bearing…etc…have a looksie


Thanks for all the suggestions! I will be pulling the wheel off today to see what I can find. It came on rather suddenly which seems surprising. I’ve replaced my own brakes many times and never had an issue, so I’m not expecting that to be a problem, but you never know. :wink:

Well this is embarrassing! LOL I had forgotten that I did an oil change and tire rotation a couple weeks ago and indeed didn’t tighten the lug nuts on that wheel enough. Geez, I’ve been servicing my own vehicle since I could drive, even replaced the cylinder head on my car in college, but I hadn’t managed to make this mistake yet.

Thanks for taking the time to help, it is appreciated! :slight_smile:

LOOSE WHEEL Eh? Lol…happens more than you know…Takes a real man to actually ADMIT it also

Thank you all!! For weeks I’ve been trying to figure the same problem out. I read all the comments and especially this on. I had changed my tire and the lugs weren’t tight completely. #embarrassing

Amen to that statement!! :innocent:

Since it was like that for a few weeks, I’d suggest checking the studs for possible damage. Simply remove the wheel and try threading a nut of the studs. If it goes all the way on without a problem, it’s fine, but if it binds up before reaching the end of the threads, you have a damaged stud. Damaged studs, if you have any, will need to be changed.

Don’t feel bad. I did the exact same thing myself once. The dealer showed me how loose the lugs were on one of the wheels and said “whoever put this wheel on didn’t tighten the lug nuts”. I hung my head and sheepishly replied that it was my fault since I had recently rotated tires myself. He laughed so hard (good naturedly) and rewarded my honesty by tightening the offending lug nuts and not charging me for my (embarrassing) visit.

For the “noise per tire rotation” symptom, first place I suspect is something to do with the tire or wheel. I had that problem on my truck recently & sure enough, one of the tires had developed a bad spot. Good thing I checked the tread carefully b/c it wasn’t long before I’d have had a blow-out.