I've been getting a low creak or rattle from the front end of the HHR. It's pronounced at low speeds. Road and wind noise noise might just be drowning it out at high speed. It mostly corresponds to bumps, but some of those bumps are to slight for me to feel.
About two years ago, when I got new tires, the tech noted that all the struts/shocks were leaking. He told a dealer would likely claim it's normal. He was right, but the dealer did replace one of them under warranty.
I replaced the rotors and pads last year.
I expected more rattling with the use of higher tire pressures(55psi). With warmer weather, I'll have a chance to take a close look at things. So what should I look for and test to make sure a serious problem isn't developing. Did the basic press down on the bumper. The end came up, then settled right down to normal height.
I have tried spraying the various bushings during the intervening weeks with no improvement. So I finally pulled the wheels off this weekend. Don't know the part names, so bear with me here, the rod/base of the strut and spring assembly was covered with an oil stain on the passenger side. If I'm lucky, it's from the old strut that was replaced, but I don't know which side was replaced. Plus, I probably used up my luck not having jury duty on my day off. And I've noticed in the past couple months that the nose seems to be diving further.
How difficult is it to replace a strut? I've replaced rotors and regreased wheel bearings before. I know I'm going to need spring compressors.
This, of course, may have nothing to do with the noise. Other people have noted that it only happens during cold weather. So if a strut replacement doesn't fix it, perhaps it'll just annoy me for half the year.
I replaced a strut on the rear of my car and it was pretty straight forward. I have heard that the front is worse than the rear. mine was on the rear.
as for the spring compressor, go to autozone (or the likes) and do the loan a tool program. mine was a $50 deposit but you get it back when you return it. if you use a credit card, it doesn't even show up on your bill...actually it shows up twice, once as a debt and once as a credit.
make sure to have jack stands and an impact wrench helps too.
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just FYI, almost all chevy cars use the 2 bolts that the struts bolt to the spindles to set the camber. marking them and getting them in the same spot is not enough. use a bubble camber gauge or get an alignment afterwards.
other than that it shouldn't be too hard. 2 bolts on the bottom, 3 on top and the whole thing comes out. put the spring compressor on and take the center nut holding the strut to the mount.
lastly, while doing struts, get the strut mounts as well. I work in a shop that does struts and a few times we've had people refuse to get the mounts... every one has come back a week later saying we f'ed up the car cause it still rattles. change the mounts out (at their expense...again) and the rattle goes away.
1991 Toyota Pickup 22R-E 2.4 I4/5 speed
1990 Toyota Cressida 7M-GE 3.0 I6/5-speed manual
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