Locating a Rattle

I recently replaced my rear struts. I was so proud of myself I decided to tackle that rattle from the front left wheel. I didn’t see anything loose, so I started tightening random bolts with the torque wrench. Well, despite using the torque wrench, I still broke one of the studs on the top. Any tips on how to systematically locate a rattle in the front suspension? Nothing is obvious to the naked eye and I can’t wiggle anything by hand.

What kind of car? Different styles of front suspension are prone to different types of rattles.

Does it rattle on big bumps, small bumps, step ups, step downs, all the time from road vibration? Does it rattle when it is standing still? More or less when turning?

Has the car been driven on rough roads a lot?

In any event, look at the control arm bushings and the rubber bushings on the links on the front anti-sway bar.

Thanks for the reply.

It’s an '01 Ford Taurus SE. It rattles on small bumps at moderate speed - say hitting a pot hole with the left front wheel at 25 mph. They’re doing a bunch of contruction on my street, so that is really obnoxious. A big speed bump at slow speed is no problem. Highway driving is not a problem. I don’t think it really matters if I’m turning or not (but that’s something I could probably experiment with more).

I didn’t think I was driving on a lot of rough roads, but considering both back coil springs were broken, I could be wrong! Also, I bought it used 2 years ago, so maybe the previous owner beat it up.

The rubber bushings don’t look great, but they seem pretty much in tact. The rattle I’m hearing sounds like a big metal thing clanking around.

Perhaps you can describe the actual sound of the rattle better, but I would take it to someone trusted and have it checked out - It sounds to me like ball joints, and those are not good things to leave rattling as it is dangerous.

I don’t diy my front end parts, so I don’t know if there are any easy shadetree tricks for learning about ball joint condition. I’m sure someone else can tell you, but either way if you’re wanting to keep diy you should get a shop manual.

My 2000 Blazer had a horrendous rattle coming from the front end. The hood hinges needed to be tightened up.

Ed B.

I went and did some tight turns in an empty parking lot. Rattle seems much less noticeable when I’m turning.