Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Wheel well noise

2001 Acura CL Type S: Ever time I turn toward the left when driving, I heard a pulsating “clucking” sound around the right wheel well area. The noise also increases in frequency as I speed up. No fluid on drive way and brake pads appear to be fine…Thanks!

Follow-up Question: Could I (average handyman: able to change oil, brake pads) make those repairs?

Sounds like a CV joint going.  Wait too long and it will brake, and may leave you in the middle of the road.  I am assuming this is the front end not the rear?

Yes…it’s a front wheel drive vehicle. The right wheel well noise started appropriately a month ago and seems to get slightly getting louder over the past month. Steering hasn’t been affected (yet). Still would like a couple move responses. Is it worth taking it to a local repair shop or is it DYI project?

I’d inspect the CV joint boots. If one of them is torn it’s a pretty safe bet that’s where the noise is coming from. You can do the inspection yourself, assuming you can see the CV joints. You may have to raise the front end.

If it needs new CV joints (more likely a new drive axle) I’d make an appointment with my mechanic.

Yes, the right axle CV joint is most likely failing. Have you checked to see if the boot(s) covering the joint(s) are intact. If one is ripped, the grease has most likely escaped and water and debris has entered destroying the joint.

Changing a half axle is a fairly complex procedure and requires dismantling parts of the front suspension. You should have a repair manual. Read over the procedure and determine if you have the skills, tools, and time to perform the task. Otherwise, it is best to let a professional handle it.

Good luck on this.

How much should I expect for a new joint/axle? And, should I just replace both sides. The 2001 Acura CL current has 150,000 miles.

If your outer CV boot has failed and then along with that the CV joint but the other boots are good, you could possibly get by replacing the failed joint and boot only except that it is no more labor to do the entire half shaft as the half shaft must be removed to replace the joint and boot. The other half shaft should be good if the boots are good and there is no economy in doing it while the other side is being worked on.

Ask at your local car parts store for the price for an outer joint and boot alone and compare that to the half shaft price plus the professional labor to do the work. They may offer a credit for your old half shaft.

If you live in a larger urban area there may be a shop that specializes in CV joint rebuilding for whatever that may do for you along the way in your quest to get your car repaired.

This is a task that is possible to do at home but is a couple of amateur mechanic grades up from oil and filter changer. You will need a front end alignment toe check and adjustment if the suspension needs to be partially disconnected to get the half shaft removed and replaced if is like my VW. This should not be a full boat front end alignment but I would expect a shop to charge for a full alignment anyhow.

I just picked up my car from the local mechanic and it was actually the LEFT bearing and axle (not the CV boot/axle). The car is now running smoothly and quietly. Thanks for trying!!! It cost about $380 (more labor than parts).