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2008 Toyota Rav 4 Clunking near front drivers side

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New User

Jan 30, 2018, 2:00 PM

Post #1 of 4 (2372 views)
  post locked   2008 Toyota Rav 4 Clunking near front drivers side  

Alright, I've had two mechanics, as well as my father who is fairly well-versed in vehicles take a look at my 2008 Toyota Rav4 (AWD). The vehicle has about 98,000 miles on it right now. The "clunking" occurs or at least is most noticeable hitting a pothole, manhole, etc. I believe it seems to be more noticeable lately, but overall it seems to drive fine. No bouncing, no issues turning, etc. The only thing I've noticed as far as steering goes - there seems to be a slight noise/catch when I'm cranking the wheel all of the way to either side (ie. if I'm pulling out of a parking spot).

Mechanic #1 - Informed me my left strut was leaking and needed replacing. However, no further information was provided. Due to the price they had quoted, I was going to get another opinion.

I had my father take the vehicle for a test drive and he was convinced it was not the struts. He thought there could be a couple issues: Tie-rods, POSSIBLE ball joints, and also thought the clunking noise could be coming from my steering column. He did think he saw a small leak from the left strut.

Mechanic #2 - They said the car is in good shape. They drove it and did a front end inspection. They can hear the noise, but only when they drive it over a good bump. They cannot reproduce the noise when it is on the hoist. Here's what they took a look at:
  • There is a possibility that it is the struts or a bushing in the control arm or a bushing at the base of the strut have are developing an issue, but the look like they are in pretty good shape. He did not see a leak in the struts, he saw where someone had sprayed penetrating oil on the bolts as if they were about to take them off, this makes sense because the last shop was about to do this. He also said that he did a strut test and the car came to rest in a good time. He said if it was his car he wouldn't replace them until the noise got worse or it didn't pass a strut test.
  • They said that they will replace the struts, but they aren't convinced that it will get rid of the knock.
  • They checked the tie rods and they are in good shape
  • They inspected the sway-bar bushing and end links and those are good/tight.

I am not sure what else to do. Do I wait for this to get "worse". Could the steering wheel/column be the issue? I've read many posts and it seems like this could be a trial and error issue.

(This post was edited by rerodgers on Jan 30, 2018, 2:01 PM)

Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jan 30, 2018, 2:54 PM

Post #2 of 4 (2360 views)
  post locked   Re: 2008 Toyota Rav 4 Clunking near front drivers side  

Nothing is trial and error. It's just a very good inspection by a very experience tech.

The first place I would look is the control arm bushings.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.


Aug 13, 2018, 5:53 PM

Post #3 of 4 (2067 views)
  post locked   Re: 2008 Toyota Rav 4 Clunking near front drivers side  

The clunking while turning could indicate a failed CV joint, but having a couple mechanics looking at it, seems they would have caught it. But I didn't see it mentioned anywhere in your thread.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Aug 13, 2018, 6:30 PM

Post #4 of 4 (2060 views)
  post locked   Re: 2008 Toyota Rav 4 Clunking near front drivers side  

Charliemich: Please look at the dates this should have been closed out for lack of response long ago. I'll do that now so please ignore threads that are about a month or so old nobody is there or problem solved and they didn't' come back to say so,


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