Do you hear a clunking noise when you go over bumps? Something might be wrong with your car, especially if that car is a station wagon with the make and model of the Chevrolet Heritage High Roof or HHR.
The Chevy HHR was launched just over 10 years ago in 2006. It was designed by Bryan Nesbitt and shares its platform with other models of Chevrolet. The last HHR was made in 2011.
In regards to the bump noises; no, that's not normal. You shouldn't wave it off as a harmless design flaw, especially if the clunking noise sounds like an open toolbox and your actual toolbox isn't open.
Characterizing the Issues and Its Symptoms
- 40,000 Miles: If your station wagon has been driven around for 38,827 miles or so, then that's usually when the clunking noise during bumps happen. This recurring problem also happens whenever you replace something from under the hood of your vehicle. It can come and go. It can disappear altogether then return with a vengeance. So you know it's something internal. Perhaps it's an overlooked design flaw unique to the Chevy HHR series, at that.
- No Longer in Warranty: Because the clunking happens long after your warranty has expired, you usually have to deal with a third-party auto shop rather than a Chevrolet-approved dealership to handle the situation without paying to the nose to have it fixed. Or you can depend on car insurance to buffer your expenses so that you won't have to shoulder the entire cost. Many drivers feel unsafe driving a car that's clunky and rattling, especially with the risk of a front end failure.
- Axle Bushings, Strut, Front Stabilizer Shaft, or End Link: The HHR's clunking noise is potentially caused by the axle bushings, front stabilizer shaft, or strut coming loose. Therefore, they need either realignment or replacement. The end link can also be making the noise too. Some mechanics might claim it's the brake rotors or shocks that require replacement, but it's usually the first four items that's really causing it. Leaving these loosened parts unaddressed can result in you getting stuck in the middle of nowhere when push comes to shove.
- Why the HHR? These clunking noises are most common with the Chevrolet HHR because of its front end's heaviness. The sheer weight can make several parts under its hood loosened, thus calling for realignment. The worst-case scenario, of course, is them ending up requiring replacement altogether. It depends on the severity of the loosening and the condition of the part that's been loosened. This is the reason why you should have your station wagon looked at ASAP so that the loose part's condition isn't exacerbated by the constant bump and grind.