CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Thumping Sound from front wheels!

Urgent input needed please! I’m hearing a thumping sound from the front wheels of my 1995 Toyota Corolla. It started out on one side and went away and I sadly couldn’t find the problem (I think it started on the right and when I’d turn left the sound would go away). Now, the sound is predominantly on the right side, sort of sounds like it comes from the middle as well at times and it may get faster with speed. When I turn right, it does sound like a grinding sound. Turning left diminishes sound a bit. I can’t tell if it’s making noise on the left side for sure or not, but it’s mainly the right side.

How can I diagnose this? My thoughts have been rubbing against the brakes, ball bearings, CV axles. How would I be able to tell and do a diagnostic to find out?

Probably a worned wheel bearing.Raise the front end of the car and put it on jackstands.Grab the tire at the 12 and 6 oclock position and try moving it in and out.If any play is found,take an appointment to your nearest independant mechanic.

In my car it was one thing, then the other: first, the plastic “wheel well” that’s a few inches around the tire had come loose, and was scraping against the wheel when I turned sharply, like in residential areas. After a few months, it’d literally worn right through it! Mostly harmless, but stops things like rocks being kicked up by the tires against the engine and stuff under the hood.
Later, it was the CV axle being old and leaky. I had mine replaced a year ago, and now word has it it’s messy and leaking again. That may have been making the same weird noises.

So I finally got it up on jacks. There is definitely wiggle room. It pulls in and out, I saw metal shavings on the wheel. It wiggles with the rotor, the boot on the CV axle there is messed up. I’m considering it’s the CV axle that needs replaced.