Is any level of strut/shock oscillation considered normal dampening characteristic?

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In November, I purchased a 2017 Mazda CX-5 (CPO) with 31,000 miles on it. We test drove a few during the day, and all drove pretty similarly. I enjoy relatively stiff rides so naturally we gravitated towards this vehicle. I have a question about struts and dampening...longish post for context.

About a week into ownership, I noticed a creaking/crunching sound from the front end when the suspension flexed, particularly when turning into driveways. It’s easier to hear in the cabin than sticking your head out the window. Speed bumps are smooth with no noise. This wasn’t heard or noticed on the test drive, and the temperature outside dropped quite a bit since we test drove it. So I chalked it up to cold weather creaks. I’m planning to bring this up at my first dealer appointment because I believe it falls in line with a TSB for the strut and/or control arm. Another member on here dealt with it on their Mazda 6.

Anyway, I’ve never had a car with such a sharp LED projector cutoff and only recently started to notice some front end oscillation of the cutoff when driving; our roads are pretty bad here and my main stretch is concrete with expansion joints every 20 feet — so it gets pretty rhythmic. Paying more attention to it, the cutoff of the LED oscillates 2-3 times before settling when I somewhat hard brake to a stop. I can see it off the car in front of me. It’s gentle and not anything extreme...maybe an inch up and down. I performed a bounce test on the front and rear and rebound settled immediately to my eye. Though I know these may not always be reliable. My ride doesn’t feel overly bumpy or bouncy, rebound over speed bumps and big dips in the road feels composed...

My question is: is some oscillation from a shock or strut expected and normal? Everything you read says “if it bounces more than once your shocks are blown”. However, there are varying statements on this, particularly from Moog where they state “more than three times” indicates a problem with the struts. I’m kind of irritated since it’s such low mileage in my opinion for there to be an issue. I’m going to have the dealer look at it but just wanted everyone’s expert opinions.

Thank you!
 

AutoMechanic

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For the most part I agree with if it bounces more than a few times it is bad. But if it’s creeking or crunching then that sounds more like a CV Axle or Bearing.
 

Marconis

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For the most part I agree with if it bounces more than a few times it is bad. But if it’s creeking or crunching then that sounds more like a CV Axle or Bearing.
Thanks for the reply. So it is entirely possible my struts are already bad then, which is really upsetting. I’m assuming it’s a wear item and not covered under my 12 month warranty. Here is the TSB I’m going to refer to:

KNOCKING / SQUEAKING NOISE FROM FRONT SHOCK ABSORBER, CREAKING NOISE FROM FRONT LOWER ARM BUSHING

1611361360811.jpeg
 

Marconis

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Considering that this is a CPO I would bring that up if they discover something amiss.

I would also look around underneath and in the engine bay for any tell tale signs of a accident.
It was in a known rear end collision as reported by CarFax. No signs of any accident on the front end.

I am really wishing I had a PPI done on this and didn’t take CPO as gold. But if it’s covered by a TSB it’ll be covered. It’s trying to get them to diagnose it that’ll be the hard part. If they really give me a hard time I’ll bring it to my mechanic to take a look.

My assumption is that this is nothing incredibly urgent I need to get taken care of. With service scheduled in early March and only little monthly driving, should be fine....Think my wife would get annoyed with me if I went out of my way to take care of this, lol (I have a longggg history of spending time in dealerships with my Tacoma that had several issues).
 

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Thanks for the reply. So it is entirely possible my struts are already bad then, which is really upsetting. I’m assuming it’s a wear item and not covered under my 12 month warranty. Here is the TSB I’m going to refer to:

KNOCKING / SQUEAKING NOISE FROM FRONT SHOCK ABSORBER, CREAKING NOISE FROM FRONT LOWER ARM BUSHING

View attachment 41921
Yes definitely bring it up. It won’t hurt and it very well could be done by them for free if it does fall under this category.
 
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is it equal side to side?

I would take a really close look at the headlight mounting and make sure the lights are mounted securely...

3 times is IMO too much out of a damper...
 

Marconis

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is it equal side to side?

I would take a really close look at the headlight mounting and make sure the lights are mounted securely...

3 times is IMO too much out of a damper...
Seems equal side to side, doesn’t really seem to have more prominence on one side or the other.

I agree. I guess my posting here was to make me feel better. I’m just pretty bummed I even have to deal with this crap so early on.
 

Marconis

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Going in to the dealer tomorrow AM. It’s raining outside and my wife actually brought up that she couldn’t hear any creaking anymore when we were driving. I noticed the same, and steering felt more firm in a good way. Worried I won’t be able to reproduce it tomorrow since it’s going to be wet.

Any idea what would cause creaking to go away when it’s wet outside?

Thanks!
 
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Typically what causes a noise fitting your description is anti sway bar bushings. When entering something like a drive way (usually turning and at an angle the anti sway bar twist, this twisting within the bushings is what makes the creaking/squawking. The fix is either to replace the bushings (and lube them with appropriate lubricant) or remove the existing ones, lube them and put it back together. It could however be a spring improperly indexed in the spring seat or a strut or strut bushing, but in most cases those would make noise over speed bumps...

The reason it goes away in the wet is that the water is "lubricating" the offending two parts coupled with the rise in ambient noise that goes along with rain and such.

Any dealer suspension tech worth two bits will probably know exactly what it is from your description, if you get that far... i guess weather they will fix it or not if they can't hear it is anyones guess... it probably depends on the culture of the manufacturer and dealer... IME most Japanese companies will spend $200.00 telling you why you can't warranty a 70 dollar part... Could be worse it could be Diahatsu....
 

Marconis

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Typically what causes a noise fitting your description is anti sway bar bushings. When entering something like a drive way (usually turning and at an angle the anti sway bar twist, this twisting within the bushings is what makes the creaking/squawking. The fix is either to replace the bushings (and lube them with appropriate lubricant) or remove the existing ones, lube them and put it back together. It could however be a spring improperly indexed in the spring seat or a strut or strut bushing, but in most cases those would make noise over speed bumps...

The reason it goes away in the wet is that the water is "lubricating" the offending two parts coupled with the rise in ambient noise that goes along with rain and such.

Any dealer suspension tech worth two bits will probably know exactly what it is from your description, if you get that far... i guess weather they will fix it or not if they can't hear it is anyones guess... it probably depends on the culture of the manufacturer and dealer... IME most Japanese companies will spend $200.00 telling you why you can't warranty a 70 dollar part... Could be worse it could be Diahatsu....

Thanks for this very detailed reply! I’ll mention that I believe this may be the culprit and I’d like them to inspect it. I’d hope they’d inspect it, anyway, because I imagine I’ll be paying out of pocket for a diagnostic since it’s a “wear” item. What other symptoms could this produce? Vehicle seems to rock side to side quite easily along with the oscillation I described.
 
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You're welcome of course.

Id avoid steering them and instead concentrate on a really good description of the noise and when... things like where and under what conditions it does and does not do it... are important.

I'm also only talking about the noise here, it wouldn't cause some of your other symptoms unless the end links were gone or something like that.

And before anyone says it, yes anti-sway bar bushings will make noise over speed bumps too, but IME they have to be on the more advanced side of the problem to do so, and you have to be aggressive or heavily loaded, the torsion brings the noise out faster.

Have you by chance searched for TSB's? Edit, oh yes i see you have a TSB.

Good luck with them, hopefully it will dry out...
 
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I’m surprised Mazda would allow a vehicle with a reported accident to be sold under the CPO program. I know with GM that’s a big no no.

I would bring the noise issue up with the dealer. Most CPO programs offer a 12month/12k mile warranty that covers the consumable items.
 

Marconis

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I’m surprised Mazda would allow a vehicle with a reported accident to be sold under the CPO program. I know with GM that’s a big no no.

I would bring the noise issue up with the dealer. Most CPO programs offer a 12month/12k mile warranty that covers the consumable items.

As long as it has a passing Autocheck score, I believe they can, as long as it is repaired properly and every other box on the inspection checklist is good. I’ve seen many dealers selling CPO Mazda’s with accidents. If it has structural damage it definitely can’t be verified. But it’s obviously very possible there is unreported structural damage. I highly doubt these guys inspect anything. They probably take it for a ten minute drive.

This is my second CPO vehicle and I probably won’t do it again in the future. I’ll either buy new or lease again...just love having something brand new :)
 
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I’ve seen wheel oscillation as they bounce up and down, but the shocks have to be pretty worn for that to happen.

agree on ALL posts about sway bar bushings and the creaking, spot on, thats where I’d look.

check your tire pressure, and see if its at door placard pressure. If not, make it so. If it is, add 2-5 psi and see if that changes the vibration.

also agree on checking the headlights for tightness. They shouldn’t bounce without you bouncing.
 

Marconis

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I’ve seen wheel oscillation as they bounce up and down, but the shocks have to be pretty worn for that to happen.

agree on ALL posts about sway bar bushings and the creaking, spot on, thats where I’d look.

check your tire pressure, and see if its at door placard pressure. If not, make it so. If it is, add 2-5 psi and see if that changes the vibration.

also agree on checking the headlights for tightness. They shouldn’t bounce without you bouncing.

Thanks for the reply. I’d be shocked (ha) if my struts or shocks are worn at 32,800 miles. I just can’t see it happening. But I’ll see what the dealer inspection turns up. I WANT them to find something because it just doesn’t feel right. My tire pressure is religiously kept at 36 — placard says 34 for OEM tires, but it’s too soft for my liking.
 

Marconis

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🤣

In all seriousness I hope the dealer gets you taken care of 👍🏻

Thanks, pal. I really hope so. I feel like there’s this weird conflict of interest thing...they sold me the CPO, may try to save face and say there are no issues. But we’ll see. We’ll see.

Worst comes to worst, I’ll bring it to a suspension shop and have them actually check it. Will need wife permission for that because she thinks I’m insane.
 
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