If your car has developed a mystery squeak, don’t put off identifying the problem and getting it looked at by a mechanic. The problem is unlikely to go away, but the sooner you get it fixed, the less serious it is likely to be.
Last week, we looked at some of the primary causes of a squeaking car, including lack of lubrication in the ball joint, perished or damaged bushings, and faulty suspension. The problem is most likely to be related to the suspension and there are a few things that you can do to confirm, or eliminate, the possibility.
Check your car’s stability
If you have noticed that your vehicle is a little bit lower on one side, then the problem could well be suspension. One simple way to test it is to park the car on a flat surface and give each corner a good bounce. Observe how many times it bounces before settling; if one corner bounces more than the others, it is likely that you have a problem.
No more smooth journeys
If you notice that your car is a little bit bumpier than normal, especially alongside an unidentified squeak, the problem could well be your suspension; get it checked out as soon as possible.
Uneven wear on your tyres
If your tyres are wearing more on one side than on the other, it could be down to misaligned wheels, but it could be caused by faulty suspension.
Several factors can influence the way that your vehicle handles, including wheel alignment and your power steering system. If your vehicle feels sluggish, or if it drifts or pulls on corners, your suspension could be the culprit.
Below par braking
Faulty suspension can add an extra 20% to your stopping distance. If you notice that your braking seems less reliable than you are used to, there is definitely something amiss.
Know your struts from your shocks
Your suspension features struts and shocks, which perform different purposes. A strut is responsible for maintaining the car’s structure, keeping components in place. Shocks, meanwhile, absorb impact when the car meets bumps or uneven road surfaces. Damaged struts or shocks can impact the handling of the car and cause unexplained noises such as bumps, clunks and squeals.
There is no point risking your safety or the safety of other road users. If your vehicle is ticking any of the boxes for suspension problems, it's worth getting your vehicle checked as soon as possible. Some garages offer free suspension checks; look for a local suspension specialist that offers such a service and get your vehicle booked in as soon as you can.