Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Popping/Knocking Noise

My 2003 CRV has developed a “popping” or “knocking” noise that seems to come from the front end of the car. It doesn’t happen all the time but seems to happen more and more. I’ve read it could be either a sway bar of CV joint issue? I’ve taken it to our Honda service center and they have checked it over and can’t find anything wrong. Any suggestions?

In order to give us more to go on, you have to tell us the circumstances when you hear this noise.

Do you hear it at certain speeds, but not at other speeds?
Do you hear it only when accelerating?
Does the noise stop if you lift your foot from the gas pedal?
If you shift into neutral while rolling, does the noise stop?
Is the noise affected by making a turn?
Is it a continuous noise, or is it intermittent?
Do you hear it only on rough pavement, or is the pavement condition not related to the noise?

The noise is intermittent. It doesn’t seem to make any difference what speed I’m going nor do the conditions of the road seem to make any difference on when I hear the noise. Yesterday it made a fast popping sound when I went to brake but as soon as I let up off the brake pedal the noise stoped. When I went to brake again throughout the drive, the noise wasn’t there. Sometimes it feels like the car is “pulling” a little to one side but that doesn’t always happen either. I also will hear the popping sound when I’m starting up from a stop sign on a slight incline. Another thing I’ve noticed is that it seems to make the sound more after I’ve driven the car for a while. Help! My car is possessed!

P.S. Forgot to answer that I’ve never tried putting the car in neutral while the car is rolling so I don’t know if the noise would stop if I do that.

The car is not possessed but has an intermittent problem that cannot be diagnosed. Your best bet is to figure out how you can consistently reproduce the problem, so you an take it in and have it checked out while the noise is happening. It could be as simple as a stone behind the hubcap or failing joint or bearing. Pull the hubcap and look for a stone or even lugnut just for kicks.

Turtlemom–You did not tell us whether the noise is affected by making a turn, but based on everything else that you mentioned, I am going to speculate that the problem could be the result of badly-worn inner CV joints. However, that is just a somewhat-educated guess.

Only a mechanic who can drive the car and examine it personally can say for sure what the problem might be. Take the car to a well-reputed independent mechanic (NOT a chain operation like Midas, Monro, Meineke, Sears, AAMCO, etc) for the best diagnosis.

I agree with VDC.

I’d like to suggest that one thing you can try is to jack up each corner of the car , making sure the car is safely secured from rolling but with the tranny in neutral, and try turning the wheels each by hand. Turn them as fast as you can, turn them frontwards & backwards, try wobbling them by hand (to check bearings), and even try turning them slowly by hand with your fingers near the center of the hub (feeling for roughness). You may get lucky.

The noise doesn’t seem to be affected while making a turn. That is what is so strange about the noise. It only happens off and on (and no, I’m not hearing strange voices in my head) :slight_smile: One thing the Honda mechanic noted on my last 2 visits is that they were keeping an eye on the struts. They indicated they were leaking slightly (4/10) but it didn’t warrant replacing the struts just yet.