Clunking noise when pressing the gas pedal. Causes and solutions

I’ll start by answering this frequently asked question: Why do you hear a clunking noise when pressing the gas pedal?

It could be because of various issues such as a failing drive shaft or shift solenoid. If not, your car might be struggling with a low transmission fluid level. Other issues may include a weak motor or transmission mounts.

Why Is There a Clunking Noise When I Accelerate?

Like I just said, many issues including a failing drive shaft or shift solenoid, low transmission fluid level, as well as a weak motor or transmission mounts can cause this problem. Let’s take a deep dive into each:

1. A Failing Drive Shaft

As you may already know, the driveshaft is what drives the car, taking the power from the engine and delivering it to the wheels so that they can get the vehicle in motion.

Now, the shaft, just like any other component of your car, is prone to failure due to many reasons. Careless driving and corrosion are some of the things that can cause it to fail.

A failing driveshaft will show several symptoms with a clunking noise coming from the front of your car being one of the most common.

This noise usually occurs due to the driveshaft’s inability to rotate properly. This can be attributed to failing components e.g the U-joints that fail to support it sufficiently.

Solution: Replacing your driveshaft with a new driveshaft is the best way to resolve the problems of a failing driveshaft.

2. Bad Shift Solenoids

Your car has multiple shift solenoids for the transmission system. These computer-controlled transmission subcomponents function to open/close certain valves within the transmission.

This helps regulate the flow of the transmission fluid, causing the transmission to shift gears effectively.

Unfortunately, bad solenoids can cause clunking noise by not regulating the flow of the transmission fluid, thereby triggering transmission gear shift problems.

Solution: Shift solenoids are so complex that it’s hard to repair them successfully. The best way to resolve mechanical problems related to bad shift solenoids is to replace the solenoids.

3. A Low Transmission Fluid Level

The transmission fluid plays a critical role in both manual and automatic transmission vehicles. It lubricates and protects the moving parts necessary for your transmission system to function.

In automatic cars, the fluid also helps deliver power from the engine to the transmission components.

The transmission fluid is meant to last longer than your vehicle’s other fluids such as the engine oil. Many manufacturers recommend topping it back up after every 30,000-60,000 miles.

If you don’t have the recommended transmission fluid level, the transmission system will not operate properly. This will lead to many problems including a clunking noise when pressing the gas pedal.

Solution: Top your transmission fluid level back up if it’s too low.

4. Failing Motor Mounts

More often than not, the clunking noise when pressing the gas pedal is usually a sign of a broken motor mount. Your car has several motor mounts whose role is to stabilize the engine, by preventing its natural vibrations.

This protects the nearby components from getting damaged by excessive vibrations. It also ensures your driving experience is smooth and will not be ruined by the vibrations.

Unfortunately, failing motor mounts would be unable to deal with your engine’s vibrations effectively. The vibrations can get stronger as you accelerate since the engine is working harder.

This can create lots of problems in your car including a clunking noise when pressing the gas pedal.

Solution: Replace your failing motor mounts if you determine that they are the reason behind your car’s clunking noise behavior when accelerating.

Should I Drive With a Clunking Noise?

Though this might seem like a minor problem not worth paying much attention to at least for some time, the reality is that you should pay immediate attention to it.

After all, it can be a sign of an extremely fatal issue such as a failing drive shaft. You don’t want to imagine what could happen if your driveshaft would fail abruptly when the car is moving.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix This Issue?

The answer depends on what you are replacing to resolve the issue. For example, if it’s the driveshaft, expect to part with between $300 and $1300.

As for the motor mounts, you’ll pay between $45 and $200 for each new mount. Similarly, a new shift solenoid will cost you between $400 and $700, whereas topping up the transmission fluid will set you back $80 to $250.

All these prices depend on the make and model of your vehicle and the mechanic you go to.


If you notice a clunking noise coming from your engine whenever you press the gas pedal, that can either mean a serious or minor problem in your car.

It could be that the driveshaft, motor mounts, or shift solenoids are failing. If not, it could be a less serious problem like a low transmission fluid level.

Either way, you want to address it so that you can drive with peace of mind, knowing that you’ve safeguarded yourself and the car from potential danger and damage, respectively.

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