Knocking sound in our Honda Civic

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by floriflee, May 12, 2006.

  1. floriflee macrumors 68030

    floriflee

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    #1
    So we have a '97 Honda Civic that has about 62K miles on it. Yesterday I noticed an unusual knocking/chugging sound when driving. I pointed it out to the hubby today when I dropped him off at the train station (no time to walk this morning). He thinks it might be that we need the tires rotated, but I'm not so sure. His reason for thinking so is that it sounds similar to a sound he heard on another car (Toyota Celica) when he drove at high speeds (it would also vibrate). I'm not driving the car at high speeds, however--maybe 20-30MPH--and there is no corresponding vibration. I first notice the sound when the car gets to about 20 MPH. The knocking/chugging will then speed up/slow down depending on my speed. I can feel a slight vibration to the beat of the knocking in the gas pedal.

    Anyway, we plan on trying to get the tires rotated and take it into a mechanic, if needed, but I was just wondering what else it could be. I hope it's not expensive whatever it is.... :(
     
  2. iGary Guest

    iGary

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Randy's House
    #2
    Is it when you turn, or when driving straight?

    Doesn't sound like a constabt velocity joint- have you hit a curb or run over anything lately?

    Your hubby's guess is good, but does the vibration get worse or less with more speed?
     
  3. floriflee thread starter macrumors 68030

    floriflee

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    Dec 21, 2004
    #3
    Driving straight.
     
  4. nospleen macrumors 68000

    nospleen

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2002
    Location:
    Texas
    #4
    It could be a couple of things. Check the tires for any nails, screws, etc... Generally if a noise speeds up or down with speed, then it is tire related. I think iGary thought it was a CV boot/joint, but going straight killed that idea. Have you slammed on your brakes recently where you skid? Sometimes you can flatten your tires and it will do the same thing. Or, if you have bad shocks, your tires could wear funny causing that noise too. Whatever you do, take it to a Honda dealer. I worked as a Service Manager at Acura for years. The Honda dealer will charge more, but at least use them for the diagnosing of the vehicle. Then you can have it fixed wherever, if too expensive. They will charge a checkout fee that will apply toward repairs if you get it worked on there.

    When you find out what it is, let me know. I will talk to one of my old techs and tell you what it should cost to repair.
     
  5. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    May 26, 2004
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    #5
    OK most likely not a CV joint then - is the engine running smooth the shole time - you mentioned "chugging?"
     
  6. evoluzione macrumors 68020

    evoluzione

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    down the road, that's where i'll always be
    #6
    if your husband thinks it could be the tires, take a look at them.

    do they all look ok? no flat spots, uneven treadwear, nothing stuck in them? are they all inflated correctly? and are they all of the same brand/size?

    does the car want to pull to one side when driving straight? or when braking?

    any vibration in the steering wheel?



    how's the oil level?
     
  7. floriflee thread starter macrumors 68030

    floriflee

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    #7
    Yeah, the engine seems to be running smooth. I just don't know how to best describe the sound. It's not like your typical chugging sound, but it's not your typical knocking sound either--somewhere in between. When I first heard it I almost thought it sounded like there was something stuck on the axle that was flapping against the ground as it rotated--it kind of reminded me of that sound the wheel makes when it's spun on the Wheel of Fortune (took me a minute to remember which game show that wheel was on).
     
  8. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #8
    Could be a dodgy tyre, I once had a tyre where the sidewall had structurally failed, even though the tyre remained inflated, and looked fine. This type of failure can cause the symptoms you mentioned. It can be caused by an old tyre failing (have you ever had the tyres replaced?) or it could be damage caused from parking with the wheel balanced on the curb (it's taking a signifcant load) or from hitting something on the road.

    A common symptom of a faulty CV is that it causes vibrations through both the accelerator and brake pedals.

    Personally... from what you've said, I'm more inclinded to go with something like a wheel bearing.
     
  9. floriflee thread starter macrumors 68030

    floriflee

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    #9
    I don't recall any sudden brake slamming recently and the shocks are still good. We also just had the 60K mile service about a month ago. Like I said, the sound doesn't start until the car gets up to about 20MPH. The only vibration I feel is a slight one against the pedals (no steering wheel or total car vibration), but then again, I guess I'm not really driving above 30MPH.

    It's times like this I really wish we had a second car. Finding time to take it to the dealer is going to be a bit tricky, but we'll do it if we have to. :p Sigh... I hate car problems....

    I'll let you know what the problem is, though. :)
     
  10. floriflee thread starter macrumors 68030

    floriflee

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    #10
    I believe the tires were replaced when the hubby got the car (October '04). One was replaced twice because the first tire had a small leak, but they are all the same brand.

    I'll go out and check the tread on all of them, and perhaps we'll be able to get it in to a tire service center tonight (to at least eliminate that possibility).

    From what I recall wheel bearing replacements can get to be expensive. Am I right?

    I haven't checked the oil level in a while so I'll do that when I check the tread. It was fine about a month ago when we got the 60K service.

    It doesn't feel like it's pulling to any particular side when driving or braking. No vibration in the steering wheel, but I haven't driven the car above 30 MPH (basically, driving the hubby down the street to the train station and back).
     
  11. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Randy's House
    #11
    Nah, me your hubby and a case of beer on the weekend should fix it. :p
     
  12. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #12
    Well... if you've just had your 60k then that rules out the possibility of it being the suspension bushes, as they would've been picked up by the repair centre as their deterioration is gradual, failed bushes can cause knocking and vibrations.

    Now, a quick look at what type of Civic it is, seems to confirm that they're the same car as the UK Rover 400/45 (96-05).

    My brother has one of those and he in the past has encountered similar noises.

    The vibration through the pedals is likely to be cause by a worn CV, other symptoms of this problem in this model is that the ABS warning light might occasionally come on (the CV problem cause the ABS sensor on that wheel to detect a fault) though this is usually when the problem becomes more serious, though this doesn't affect the cars braking ability in anyway.

    If I recall correctly, my brothers problem at the time was a lack of lubrication on the CV, he had it cleaned, and packed with grease and the problem stopped, though he has since recently started having issues with the ABS as mentioned above, and subsequently the drivers side CV requires replacement.

    They shouldn't be that bad... if a tyre check reveals nothing, I'd almost certainly lay money on it being one of the front wheel bearings.

    If you've got a trolley jack, or axle stands... just jack the car up, and check for play on the front wheels.
     
  13. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #13
    I had a similar issue with a honda accord i once owned and it was some stupid foam spacer between my engine screw mount and the metal making the engine uneven. It cost me about $200 to fix and then I found out from an old friend/mechanic that it's a 45 cent part, it's the labor they stuck me on. He said next time he'll do it for $5.00 and a corona with lime. :)
     
  14. AndyR macrumors 6502a

    AndyR

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    #14
    I had a Honda Civic Type R last year and it developed a similar problem. It would knock on and off no matter if driving straight or turning, and it would get quicker the quicker you drove. Turned out to be a faulty steering rack which is common fault on the Type R model, not sure about the others.

    Also had a suspension fault where the spring wasn't releasing fully then dropping which caused a knocking noise and also had brake pads not being released fully. Then my rear heated window packed up followed by the altinator. Suffice to say I don't own it any more but will deffo get one again as it was an awesome car :)
     
  15. floriflee thread starter macrumors 68030

    floriflee

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    #15
    If the issue does end up being the CV is it best just to get it replaced rather than cleaned and greased? Is a CV replacement about the same cost as the bearing? Sorry to keep asking about cost, but I just don't feel happy at the thought of being stuck with a thousand dollar (or thereabouts) bill--especially on our budget.

    If it is that issue we certainly haven't gotten to the stage of the ABS light coming on.


    I did recall one braking incident. The hubby was driving us to the metro station on Saturday. There was a curve that he took a bit too fast (probably at 40 MPH) where he had to quickly break. I wouldn't say that he had to SLAM on his brakes like there was no tomorrow, but did hit the brakes quickly and somewhat hard the moment he realized he was going too fast (if that makes sense). Not sure if that would be part of the cause.

    In any case, thanks to everyone so far (and those to come) for the input.
     
  16. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    Mar 31, 2004
    Location:
    A geographical oddity
    #16
    Well if the tire rotation doesn't take care of it, we'll have to look for a free Saturday to head over to Annapolis.
     
  17. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #17
    Depends on there condition really, when my brother had his checked, at the time they only needed cleaning and packing with grease, not replacing... that was a couple of years ago.

    Now the problem he has is that the joint itself is wearing... and this causes the ABS sensor to detect a problem and then the light comes on... and when the light is on, the front drivers side wheels locks up (only when executing an emergency stop).

    A quick look on a U.S. parts website seems to indicate that a CV joint would be anywhere in the region of $80-$130 ('89 and a '95 Civic respectively, not yours but a guide price anyway) and that's just for one, so you'd need to know which one needs replacing.

    Though... as you said, it happens when driving straight and as iGary says, and makes me think also... it's less likely to be the CV joint itself, though they can and do make the noises when going straight, my brothers did.

    To me it still sounds like a wheel bearing has gone, and that noise would occure when going straight... infact whenever the vehicle is moving.

    A quick scan on prices would indicate that a wheel bearing is going to cost somewhere in the $50-$60 region.

    Not sure what the labour rates are in the U.S. though, so I don't know how much it'd cost fitted. Sorry. :(

    <edit> well if you can get to Annapolis, the $50 odd bucks for the part and a crate of beer should do it. heh.

    Very much doubt it.
     
  18. floriflee thread starter macrumors 68030

    floriflee

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    #18
    Okay, that's good to know about the prices. That puts me a bit more at ease.

    I suppose the one thing working in our favor is that the hubby's uncle owns a gas station around here. The mechanics have been there for years and the garage is always busy. We've been taking our car there for our maintenance and work for the last six months or so. They've done good work so far and are very honest in their pricing--they usually give us 10% off the labor (and a couple of times even gave us employee prices). The hubby's known the head mechanic for years so we trust him. If it's not the tires, we'll take it to the Honda dealer for the eval (hopefully, we can get it in tomorrow AM), and then either a) take it to Annapolis for the bearings replacement :) or b) take it to the gas station and have them do it. The gas station option just means we'll have to spend a good portion of one of our Saturdays waiting/walking around the station while they work on it (that's when I wish we had another car :D).
     
  19. iGav macrumors G3

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    Mar 9, 2002
  20. floriflee thread starter macrumors 68030

    floriflee

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    #20
    Oh, what a fool I am....

    I contemplated not ever letting the good MR folks here know of the grave error I made with this whole ordeal. It's rather embarrassing. :eek:

    Nevertheless, I promised to let you guys know what the problem with our car was. It was....Dun dun dun.... a screw in the left front tire (or tyre).

    Now, in my defense, the sound threw me off because I'd only hear it after reaching a certain speed. In the past when I've had nails in my tires I've heard them consistently at all the low speeds (and sometimes high speeds)--and they didn't cause the pedals to vibrate. I suppose it did so this time because of the huge head this screw had. it was in there pretty tight, but the head still stuck out a ways.

    So the mystery is solved and the tire is patched, balanced and rotated along with the rest of them. Hopefully, that will be the last car mystery we will have to deal with for a while....

    Thanks, again, to everyone for all the insightful help! In the event this happens again and it is not something stuck in the tires we'll have a good troubleshooting starting point. :)
     
  21. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #21
    :p :p :p :p :p :p

    good news all the same though... ;)
     

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