So your car is making noise when you turn the steering wheel. To figure out the source of your problem, we need to dig a little deeper. Can you describe the noise? Is it a clunk, crunch, screech, squeal, whine, hum, clicking, grinding or popping? The front end of your car can make all of these noises for different reasons because it is so complicated and full of joints and mechanisms that carry the weight of your car and engine while still allowing your front wheels to spin and carry the engine’s power to the ground, travel with the suspension, and turn sharply to get you into that tight parking spot. Due to how complex your steering and suspension system is, it can be a challenge to figure out just where the source of the problem is. Below, we will describe where those grinding sounds, rubbing sounds, and creaking sounds are all coming from when turning the car.
Why does my car make a noise when turning my steering wheel?
If you are wondering “Why is there a whining, squealing, clicking, or grinding noise when turning my steering wheel?” then this first video is for you!
What causes a whining noise when turning?
If you get noises when turning your wheel at low speed it could be coming from your power steering system or your suspension. If you hear a whining noise when turning your wheel at low speed you could have a problem with your power steering pump. We’ve got a great article about whining noises your power steering pump can make for more information about that.
What causes popping noises when turning?
You may also get clunks, pops or creaks when turning at low speeds. Those noises are usually from suspension joints that are worn out or broken. Your suspension system uses bushings on joints that only need to move in 1 plane and ball joints in areas that need to have more flexibility. Since these joints carry the weight of your car and the impact of all the bumps in the road they wear out over time. When they do they allow the metal of your suspension components to rub on frame or attachment point on your car which can cause creak as you turn at low speeds. Pops or clunks are usually caused by very loose components that can jump around while turning or going over bumps.
Why does my car make a clicking noise when I turn the wheel?
Usually, if your car is making crunching, clicking, or humming and grinding noises at higher speeds indicates problems with bearings, CV joints or differentials. Crunching or clicking is often associated with a bad CV joint and happens during a tight turn. Humming sounds when turning at higher speeds usually indicate a wheel bearing is going bad and it hums during a turn because it is getting more or less load as the weight of your car shifts. Bad wheel bearings are important to get fixed right away as they can cause uneven tire wear and unpredictable behavior from your car. In extreme cases, they can cause your wheel to wobble or even fall off!
Why does my car make screeching, squealing or whining noises when turning the steering wheel?
If you hear any of these noises when turning your steering wheel they typically indicate a problem with your power steering system like a loose belt low power steering fluid. Your power steering system is a relatively simple system in your vehicle. It usually consists of the pump, usually driven by a belt on the front of your motor, the rack or steering gear, tie rods to connect the rack or steering gear to the knuckles where your wheels are attached, and hoses or hard lines to connect the pump to the gear or rack. Over time, some of the seals that contain the power steering fluid can wear down from normal use and cause small leaks. As the power steering fluid leaks out, your power steering pump can start to whine when you turn the steering wheel letting you know it’s low on fluid.
To quickly stop any leaks in your power steering system, use BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak. You don’t need to spend the time crawling around under your car or in the engine bay with a flashlight trying to determine where your leak may be. Simply add BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak to your power steering fluid reservoir and top it off with the recommended power steering fluid. The leak will be sealed as you drive! BlueDevil’s unique formula will soften and expand the seals in your power steering system stopping your leak, guaranteed! With your leak stopped, your power steering system will work like normal again leaving you with a quiet ride!
There are other less common noises your car can make while turning:
Why does my car make a scraping noise when I turn the wheel?
Scraping sounds when turning are often due to loose plastic pieces at the front of your car. These plastic shields are in your wheel well and under your under to help direct airflow to help your engine cooling system work and to keep water away from electrical components. Many times these plastic shields are secured with plastic clips that can easily brake allowing these shields to drag on the ground or on your tire during a turn which will sound like a scrape.
Why does my steering wheel make a rubbing noise when turning?
If you are hearing a loud rubbing noise when turning, it is likely that the problem is coming from the upper bearing of the steering wheel column. Another possibility is that the cover on the back of a steering wheel can begin rubbing against the covers on the steering column. This issue is usually more common in the summer months when the weather is warmer causing some car parts to expand due to the heat.
How do you know if you have a bad CV joint?
A bad CV joint will create a clicking sound rhythmic with wheel speed while turning a sharp corner.
What can happen if a CV joint fails
CV joints rarely fail catastrophically without a lot of warning. The clicking sound will start first and happen in easier and easier turns until you hear the sound even when driving almost straight. For most drivers, the sound and vibration get far too annoying to continue driving with and will replace the bad CV axle before it fails. There is the possibility of the joint separating which would make your car undrivable and could possibly damage other suspension components.
Why is there a ticking noise in my car?
Ticking noises usually don’t come from the steering system or steering wheel in your car. Ticking noises are usually associated with your engine as there are many moving parts that can tick inside your engine. Try reading our article about where engine ticking comes from for more information.
Why is my steering wheel clicking?
If there is a clicking noise coming from right behind your steering wheel that only happens when you turn they you most likely have a bad clock spring. The clock spring is an electrical connection that allows the buttons on your steering wheel, like your horn or cruise control, to work without having wires directly connected that could get twisted up when you turn your steering wheel. It’s a small spring on the wheel side that makes contact with an electrical race on the steering column side. If this spring breaks or gets stuck it will click as you turn your wheel.
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