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I have a 2006 Chevy Cobalt and since I bought the thing, the front suspension makes this horrible clunking noise every time I go over a bump. I don't know how to describe the noise other than it only happens when I drive over a bump (such as a speed bump) and it sounds like the whole front of the car is about to bust apart.

I've analyzed it and it appears to only happen when the strut engage at all (going over a speed bump, driving off a curb, etc). The sound is coming from someone near the top of the suspension so, it's unlikely it is a roll bar or something of that nature. I have a feeling that perhaps the strut mount have failed and that is what's making all of the noise. It doesn't affect how the car drives at all, it just sounds horrific.

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Any updates? Did you figure out what was causing the noise? –  Mark Johnson Sep 12 '13 at 21:24

2 Answers 2

On my personal vehicles, I tend to break the strut mounts with frightening regularity. Typically about 3 years and the fronts are broken (not loose, but actually broken). My current set of struts on the daily driver are on their 3rd or 4th set of mounting plates... Apparently Bilstein struts are indestructable while Toyota strut mounts are a wee bit on the fragile side. :-)

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I had a similar symptom occur recently after replacing the wife's struts. What I found was that I'd inadequately tightened the top nut on the strut, the one that holds the actual damper assembly to the shock mount (which is then bolted to the car). The result was that the whole strut was moving just a bit and moving independently of the rest of the vehicle.

End result: a series of progressively more irate text messages.

I got home and tightened the nut with a combination of an allen wrench and a socket: all fixed.

This nut is could be under a dust cover on the top of the shock mount. If either that nut or the shock mount itself are loose, the noise will be extremely troubling. If any of those are the problem, though, it's fixable with a little wrench work.

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For some reason those top nuts are often a problem. I've had strut assemblies that seemed perfect all of a sudden start making noise and requiring further tightening. –  Brian Knoblauch Dec 9 '11 at 17:49

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