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How To Identify Suspension Problems


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I recently purchased this car. I test drove it but I missed this and I'm hoping it's not a big deal.

About 200 miles after I bought it, I noticed a creaking when I turned left or right. At first it was subtle but it quickly became loud and persistent. After reading through lots of threads, I'm pretty sure some lubricant quieted it down until I drove away.

I'm trying to identify what exactly it is before I tear into it. On another forum it was suggested that it might be:

sway bar bushings

lower ball joints

sway bar end links

bent tie rod or sway bar

Most people experienced a popping when going over speed bumps or into driveways. I have not experienced this. There is no popping so I'm hesitant to start replacing things just yet. This can best be described as a creaking like on a hinge on an old door.

Today, I jacked up the front tires. There was an obvious creaking as the suspension released until the tire was off the ground. I couldn't find any obvious signs of failure in the bushings, tie rods, or ball joints but I'm not 100% sure what I'm looking for. There is no sound or resistance as I turn the wheel right or left.

I put the jack under the drivers side tire. As I start to jack up the tire, I can feel it pop. It's as though there is some resistance and then it releases. When I lower the jack, it is the same. Again, as though it is hung up and then releases with an obvious pop.

Please help me identify what it could be and thanks for reading

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According to your Club Lexus posts, you sprayed silicone lube on some bushing and it quieted down. If that is so, why wouldn't you think you had found the culprit???? I mean, if I sprayed a bushing and the noise went away, I would be thinking, "bingo, I need to replace that bushing as it is probably worn out".

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I sprayed all the bushings because I needed to drive the car and I wanted more time to read about different symptoms.

It's strange. Today, I didn't spray anything. Just jacked it up and inspected it again.

When I set it down, the creaking is gone.

I'm sure something is binding but I don't know where. Today I was going to just spray one spot with an educated guess of where the problem was coming from but when I lowered the jack, I couldn't reproduce the noise.

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Well Brian, you are finding out what I have known for some time...that noises can drive you crazy. Especially on a high end Lexus. And are difficult to pinpoint. Now, have you done any checking for play in the wheels? Like jack up the front end and grab the tire at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions and give it a good shake. Any play? Then, grab the tire in the 12 and 6 o'clock and give it a good shake. Any play? Even a small amount might indicate steering linkage issues or ball joints being loose.

Safety is the number one concern here. Noises are annoying but pose no real threat unless symptomatic of larger issues.

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Ok, thats good news. Nothing catastrophic about to happen, like a wheel fall off ;-)

Again, noises are very difficult to pinpoint quickly. So, I think I would take the approach of spraying, one at a time, bushings with the silicone, to see if you could isolate the noise. I know, it is going to take some time and detective work but that is about all you can do short of changing every bushing straight out.

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