I have a 1997 Impreza wagon, 168K miles. There is a creaking noise from left lower suspension. Mechanic lubricated lower control arm bushings and front sway bar links. That lasted about 1/2 mile. It seems to go away when the temperature is high 70’s or higher. Steering, etc., seem unaffected. When will this become fatal, if at all?
The best person to ask is the mechanic - the one who was actually able to inspect all of the suspension components.
That said, creaky bushings often have a really long way to go before they create anything beyond annoyance. They’ll make more and different noises when it starts to get really bad.
It Will Become Fatal Eventually If It’s A Ball Joint That’s Dry/Corroded.
Try lubricating the top and bottom of the spring around the strut. Sometimes the spring wears a hole in the plastic part of the seat that it sits on and will squeak as you drive down the road. It is often most annoying on a smooth road.
You state he lubed the end links. I’ve never heard an end link groan but sway bar bushings can and frequently do groan when the rubber hardens with age.
Lube is critical too. WD-40 may work but it’s a short term band-aid.
The creaking noise might be from a dry ball joint. If the vehicle has the original ball joints they probably don’t have grease fittings. However the ball joints can be greased by using a tool called a needle greaser. This allows injecting grease into the ball joint without doing damage to the ball joint dust boot.
Thanks everyone. I can rest easy for a while. Looking back, the noise began when the strut, strut top, and front axle ass’y. were replaced in April.
Tom and Ray said they use HHS200 made by Worth to lube suspension parts. They said it is not affected by water. Worth has changed the name to HHS-K and I found it on Amazon.