How To Fix Clunking Noise from ATV Front End

Strange noises while riding your quad are both irritating, disrupting, and alarming. You don’t just hear nature sounds and a powerful engine anymore. You may struggle to hunt when your machine reveals your presence. And you wonder if something is wrong with your machine that could be dangerous or expensive. This post will focus on how to diagnose and fix a clunking noise in your ATV front end, so you can enjoy your ride again.

atv riding extreme off-road

Clunking or Popping?

Before reading on, make sure what you’re hearing is a clunking sound and not popping. These sounds indicate different issues.

Check Your Tires

There are many potential causes of clunking noises, but one of them, and one that’s both easy to check and fix, is tire pressure.

Check all four tires, and make sure they are all the same pressure.

They should also be the same size. This is a more expensive problem, but if you have unequally sized tires, you need to make them match.

Short Term Fixes

Depending on the cause of your clunking noise, one of these methods might reduce the clunking noise while you’re on the trail.

Obviously, if your quad only clunks when you’re using 4WD, ride in 2WD where possible.

If you ride in low range and use only a little throttle, you might make the noise stop.

You might also stop the noise if you immediately follow switching out of 4WD with shifting into reverse.

If you use these methods, remember that you still need to determine the cause of the clunk. It may be relatively harmless, or it may be an indicator that you need to repair or replace part of your machine for your safety and to prevent higher repair costs down the line.

Notice The Signs

Consider the various symptoms your ATV is displaying. When do you hear the clunking sound? When using 4WD drive? When using either? Does it happen when you’re accelerating? Where does the sound seem to be coming from? These clues will point you toward the cause of your clunking sound so you can then narrow your search to something like clunking noise coming from tires of an ATV when stopping or how to fix clunking noise in front ATV wheel.

Read About Your Model

Different models are notorious for certain problems, clunking among them. By researching your ATV model, you might get an early clue to what is probably causing the clunking sound.

Potential Causes of ATV Clunking Noise

The first step to fixing ATV knocking noises is to determine the cause.

CV Joint

You can determine if the cause is a CV joint while driving the quad. Make a series of figure eights using sharp turns. If a sharp turn produces a clunking sound, you can determine that your CV joint is bad and which one it is by the direction you were turning when you heard the sound.

While Accelerating

If you notice the clunking while accelerating, the culprit may be:

  • a universal joint

  • the front differential

  • loose differential rubber mounts

  • a loose axle mount

While Engaging Your 4WD

If you notice clunking right when you engage your 4WD, you should look at the splines in your transfer case.

Other Causes of Clunking

Clunking could also be caused by a faulty:

  • Driveshaft

  • Prop shaft

  • Clutch

  • EBS

  • Ball joints

  • Bushings

  • Bearings

  • Struts

  • Cage in the gear case

  • Armature plate


You may get lucky and only need to grease a component. Something small and inexpensive may need to be replaced. Or the problem could stem from something that could seriously damage your machine or be unsafe. Clunking is not an uncommon occurrence, so much so that some people will tell you to ignore it, but you should always determine the source of the sound.

Go Up
Follow us on social media:
Sign up for more content like this:
Subscribe to our blog
Enter a valid email
I agree to the Privacy Policy.
Share this Article:
Your basket is empty