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I have a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee which in general has had a few small issues (stock radio failure, stuck on heat only for the passenger side, and after resolving that, I'm stuck on heat only for the driver's side, to name a couple) but lately I have noticed something that may be more concerning.

When turning the wheel to the left, and accelerating/applying the gas, there is a very loud knocking or clicking noise seeming to come from the front left tire (could be elsewhere too, but I can hear it most on the driver's side, since I am driving when it occurs).

It gets louder the farther I Turn the wheel, and sounds almost like a gear is skipping teeth due to being not aligned properly or something. The noise does not appear unless I am using the gas pedal, and is faint unless I have turned the steering wheel about half a rotation.

Any idea on what this might be? I have been continuing to drive it, and just trying to coast around corners that are sharp lefts. Is this dangerous to continue to use like I am? I have not heard this knock in any other situation besides to one described above, so I am not sure if it is a serious concern, or perhaps just a misalignment of some sort.

To address the comments/answers so far, I have checked the lug nuts, and they seem to be good to go. The transmission is full time 4WD, so I am unable to swap it for further investigation.

Update: Turns out that it was in fact the CV Joint that had gone, as mentioned in the the accepted answer. Brought it into the shop, replaced the joint, and the knocking disappeared :)

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    Is your transmission full-time 4WD? If you can switch into 2WD then do so and see if there are any changes. See if you can find a group of settings that makes the noise change, move or vanish; that will give us some more clues.
    – Criggie
    Jun 29, 2023 at 2:38
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    It is full time 4WD, yes. I've updated the Question with that info
    – Flats
    Jun 29, 2023 at 14:57

1 Answer 1

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Two things come to mind:

  • Before you drive it any further, check the lug nuts all the way around to ensure they are tight. I've seen a lot of vehicles exhibiting what you are talking about have loose lug nuts which is highly dangerous (obviously).
  • You didn't say, but I'm going to assume your Grand Cherokee is a 4WD (or AWD). If so, it could be your front drive axle constant velocity joint (CV Joint) is done. When they start going out, they tend to pop as you are going around corners. This is because the ball bearings which help them work, are popping in and out of place when they have to do work. They only do work when you are turning and not going straight down the road. In and of itself, this situation is not dangerous, but it is still something which needs to be fixed. The most common cause for CVJs to go bad is because the boot holding the grease in has split and the grease spewed out, causing the joint to dry up and now Bob's your uncle. When a CVJ boot splits and spews, it's pretty obvious when you take a look. Just because you don't find a split boot doesn't mean the CVJ isn't bad, though, so be warry.
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  • it is a 4WD vehicle, yes. Thanks for the Quick answer! I'll be sure to note your suggestions. If it is the CVJs, is this a very expensive fix? Tightening lug nuts I think I can afford :) But I may have to save for anything bigger
    – Flats
    Jun 28, 2023 at 16:48
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    It depends on what you consider "expensive". If it's just one CVJ, to get one of the drive axle replaced would probably cost you between US$500-1000 where I live. It isn't particularly a hard job. Anyone with decent mechanical knowledge could do it. If you have a friend who knows what they are doing, the part itself would cost you between $75-300, depending on where you get it at and the quality of the part. MOPAR is a bit more expensive, but if you prefer OEM parts, it might be the way for you to go. Jun 28, 2023 at 17:01

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