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New struts on 2006 Mazda3 creak

About a month ago my 2006 Mazda3 (35,000 mi) started making loud creaking sounds everytime I turned and went over a bump. I took it into two mechanic shops and they both said the struts in the front were leaking fluid and needed to be replaced, in addition to the mounts and the swaybar link. I had all of this done, but when I got my car back it was making a new, very loud, clunking sound that I could also feel on one side when I drove over bumps. The sound was similar to the noise your car makes when the undercarriage hits the ground over a bump. I immediately took it back in, and the mechanic told me that the set of struts he had installed were “bad” and that he would put in new ones. This was done this weekend, but now my car is making the original creaking and groaning sound it did before, except much more audibly now. My car groans and creaks even if I turn the wheel while motionless.

I’ve heard that cars need time to “settle” into new struts. Does my car just need time to adjust?

Any thoughts on what made the struts go bad in the first place after a mere 35,000 mi are also welcome!

If its creaking and groaning while the car is motionless and you turn the wheel, that should be a great hint for the shop. Odds are then that it is one of the following:

Strut mount
Ball joint
Tie rod end
Swaybar link/bushing

That’s roughly in decreasing order of probability, IMO. I’d wager that the strut mounts are either bad or simply not greased properly…

Cars do not need to “settle” into new struts. Or any other new parts. You may have needed new struts, it’s impossible to tell now, but clearly the shops missed something.

As Eraser suggested, creaking when turning while standing still is a big clue. That would usually tend to eliminate the struts as well as the strut mounts. That would also tend to eliminate the sway bar links and bushing as candidates. These only articulate when the car leans. It would suggest to me ball joints or tie rod ends.


Just for the record, both my 97 Taurus and my 98 Camry squeaked from the strut mounts something fierce when the bearings went bad. :slight_smile:

I’ve no doubt that it can happen, but usually it isn’t the first suspect when it sqeaks while standing still and turning.

In any case for the OP - the good news is that the suspect joints aren’t right next to each other and isolating it should be easy. I’ve done it before simply by touching parts of the suspension carefully while a partner turns the wheel. The part that is vibrating is the one that’s squeaking… Easy Peasy…