I have a 2010 Subaru Legacy Outback that I recently bought.

I recently realized that there is sometimes a ticking sound coming from the front left wheel area when driving.

The sound is pretty quiet and can only be heard when the front left window is rolled down, and it only happens sometimes, maybe half the time.

At first I thought it was coming from the CV axle, and the CV boot was broken open and lost a bunch of grease.

I replaced the entire axle with a newly manufactured one, but the ticking noise has not gone away or changed. None of the other CV axles have leaking boots.

I also noticed when I lifted up the car to replace the axle that there was some play in the front left wheel, but none of the other wheels.

With the wheels bolted on tightly, I could turn the front left wheel about 1/8 of an inch to each side without the steering wheels or other wheels moving, and it would make sort of a clanking or hitting sound when I moved the wheel by hand. I didn't test if this play went away after replacing the CV axle.

The ticking noise I'm talking about kind of sounds like the noise you hear when you hit and rub two coins together. The intensity of the sound as well as the time of occurrence seems kind of random. Sometimes it is louder and sounds worse than other times, although it's always too quiet to hear with the windows up.

When the sound has started occurring, it gets faster as I speed up, from about 2 ticks per second at low speeds up to like 5 ticks per second at high speeds. It happens whether I'm in gear or in neutral, and whether I'm accelerating, decelerating, or neither.

The sound does not get worse when cornering, however sometimes it will appear or disappear after I have gone around a corner. I have no idea what is causing this, so any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • 1
    " I could turn the front left wheel about 1/8 of an inch to each side without the steering wheels or other wheels moving" probably a worn Inner tie rod on that side.
    – Moab
    Sep 3, 2020 at 0:24
  • 1
    Ticking could be worn or missing brake pad anti rattle clips.
    – Moab
    Sep 3, 2020 at 0:25
  • 1
    Tie rods with toe-in alignment on front might tick to toe out with excessive play like cracking your knuckles. Sep 3, 2020 at 15:44
  • @TonyStewartSunnyskyguyEE75 wouldn't you expect the ticking to by non-rhythmic in that case? I may not have been clear enough on this point, but the ticking starts and stops randomly, but when it is ticking the ticking occurs rhythmically and consistently at a certain rate which increases and decreases proportionally with speed.
    – Jon
    Sep 4, 2020 at 21:28
  • Oh I see. then look for loose wheel-well plastic from sharp turn interference on front wheels. I had a Madza like this. Sep 4, 2020 at 21:30


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