I’m having horrible squeaking/creaking noises coming from the front drivers side area of my car. I can hear it inside the car with windows up or down. Not sure if you can hear it from the outside or not. It is only when going over bumps or uneven road surfaces at low speeds. If I’m even going like 40mph and there is uneven surface I don’t hear anything. It’s 85 degrees today, and I notice it has gotten worse with the hotter temps. I just purchased the car a few months ago when it was still winter, and only recall it gradually doing this as the weather has warmed up. The weirdest thing is that my previous sunfire (also a 2002), made the same exact noise, but never did get it checked out because the head gasket blew and I got rid of it. I tried pushing on the front end while it’s parked to see if it makes the noise, but I didn’t hear the slightest chirp, unless I’m just not strong enough to give a good enough push. Anybody have a clue what could be wrong? I don’t wanna throw a whole lot of money into it not being sure what it is, and I have read a lot of horror stories of mechanics trying to pinpoint noises and still not being able to find the culprit thousands of dollars later.
There’s lots of possibilities, hard to say over the internet. A mechanic could put it on a lift and probably spot the problem.
Not interested in taking it to a shop? What I’d do first in that case, if I had this problem, is find somebody strong enough who can push down forcefully on the driver’s side front bumper while you sit in the car in the driver’s seat and listen. Do it both with the engine off, and w/the engine running.
Still don’t hear it? Try some experiments in a parking lot, like does it sound louder when turning in a certain direction? What about stepping on the brake? What about stepping on the brake after going in reverse? Come up with all the variations of slow speed driving you can think of, find out which produces the loudest noise. Then post back here with the results.
Another possible way to find it is to squirt/spray the bushings underneath with silicone lube and see if the sound disappears. There’s probably a 50/50 chance you’ll find the source this way. I’d start with the bushings holding the sway bar to the body, followed by the sway bar link ends. These sway bar bushings can cause squeaking and/or even thunking noises when they get old. You can even progress to spraying the rubber bushings that the spring ends sit on, to the extent that you can access them. Silicone spray cannot do any harm, and in this case it may be the solution.
If this technique works, and you isolate the source, you can then think about changing some parts. Sway bar bushings and sway bar links are very cheap to buy. If this works, let us know what stopped the squeak and we’ll advise you from there. These things are easy to change, but there are some things you should know before starting. Sway bar links are easy to change with a few tips, but if you’re trying to figure it out “blind”, sway bar links just might frustrate the bejesus out of you.
Thanks for the responses. I had my boyfriend push on the front of the car, and there is a sound if he pushes hard enough, but it sounds more like a whooshing air sound from the outside…its the best way I can think to explain it. From the area of the wheel well, or behind/above the wheels…somewhere around there. But it does sound more like a creaking if I’m inside the car while he does it. Although I’m not completely sure that it’s the same sound I hear when driving. I was thinking of trying some AT-205 reseal to spray on some things under there. I saw on a youtube video that it can be used for that sort of thing. Any idea if that would harm anything? I don’t really know what I’m looking to spray though, so I will have to have someone else do it. It definitely only does it when going over bumps and rough surfaces. Not when hitting the brakes or turning, unless I’m going over a bumpy road at the same time. Only when going on rough roads. Which is pretty much everywhere in my area.
When your bf pushes on the bumpers, left vs right, does one side sound obviously different than the other?
I didn’t recall, but he said yes, there is definitely a different sound on the drivers side.
The new description sounds more like a worn out strut than anything else.
How many miles does this car have on it, anyway?
It has 113,000 miles on it. Not sure if struts were ever changed or not, I bought it from a used car lot.
I’d guess sway bar bushings. That is the large bar going across the car linking the left and right suspension to one another. There are 2 rubber bushings attaching the bar to the frame out toward the ends. One or both are likely very dry. Spray silicone spray on the bushings and bounce the car up and down to work it in. I would avoid AT-205, not sure what’s in it but it is designed to go IN the engine, not ON bushings. Silicone works great on rubber and comes with a straw to hit small places. That should make things quiet. If it doesn’t, it may be the strut seals squawking. Squirt a little silicone, there, too. It may go away and not come back.