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Car clinic: Why does my Toyota MR2 make a clicking noise at full lock?

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Q. When I set off in my W-reg Toyota MR2 convertible, on full lock and at walking pace, a clicking noise comes from the steering. What could it be? 

FJ, Boughton Heath, Chester

 

A. As the noise occurs when you turn the wheels to full lock, it’s natural to assume that the problem is with the steering. However, on an MR2 it is more likely to lie with the bearings in the top mountings of the front suspension struts. The mountings can be seen under the bonnet next to each front wing.

If you open the bonnet and put your ear close to each top mounting in turn as a friend moves the steering wheel, you should be able to hear which one is causing the clicking. Although it’s not likely, it could be that both mountings are at fault. Either way, it would be wise to replace both at once to prevent any steering or suspension imbalance. Plus, if one is failing, it is quite likely that the other will follow.

To fit new bearings you have to remove the offending strut, complete with its suspension spring. This job requires particular tools and is best left to an expert. We spoke to MR2 specialists at mr2-ben.co.uk, who agreed with this diagnosis and quoted about £102 each for the bearings, with installation at about £90 for the pair. Don’t delay: if the top-mount bearing becomes worn and loose it could lead to an MoT failure, because the steering and wheel alignment (and hence the tyres) can be affected.

Any owner of an older or specialised car is advised to join a forum or club, which can help you with problems such as this. There are many for the MR2, including mr2oc.co.ukmr2oc.commr2roc.org and toyotaownersclub.com.

Sunday Times Driving car clinic expert: Dave Pollard

INSPECTOR GADGET
Dave Pollard has written several Haynes manuals and has tested just about every car-related accessory


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