What Causes the Noise When Turning the Steering Wheel?

You probably found this article because you were looking for answers on why your vehicle is making noise whenever you turn the steering wheel. Well, to discover the source of the issue, you need to dig a little deeper. What does the noise sound like? Do you hear a squeal, a clunk, a whine, a grinding, a hum, or a popping sound?

There are various reasons why you hear a steering wheel noise from the front-end of your vehicle. After all, the complicated mechanisms and joints have to carry all the weight of the engine and the car. In this post, we are going to discuss the basic reasons why your vehicle makes noises whenever you turn the steering wheel.

The Main Causes of the Noise

The groaning, whining, or creaking sound that your car generates whenever you take a curve on the road is an indication of a serious problem. It will temporarily help if you lubricate the parts. However, it is likely for these components to fail eventually if you do not address the root cause of the issue immediately. In general, here are the main reasons why your steering wheel makes noises when turning:

Noises When Driving at Low Speeds

Are you driving at low speeds? If your vehicle makes noise when you turn, you must inspect the condition of the suspension or the power steering system. The clunking, popping, or creaking sounds are likely caused by worn out or damaged suspension joints. Because they withstand the impact of the bumps on the road while carrying the heavy weight of the car, they eventually wear out. When the joint gets damaged, the components of the suspension starts to scrape the connecting point, hence creating the noise you hear.

On the other hand, if you hear a whining sound, it is likely that the power steering pump is damaged. Check if the noise is coming from the front of the engine. If it is, then the pump is definitely the culprit.

Noises When Driving at High Speeds

If you are driving at high speeds and you hear a steering wheel noise when you make a turn, then the problem has something to do with the bearings, CV joints, or differentials. It is possible that a bad coupling is causing the sounds whenever you take a tight turn. On the other hand, if you hear humming noises, try checking the wheel bearings. When your car shifts its weight during a turn, the load gets directed to the bearings. Make sure you address this problem promptly because ignoring it will cause uneven wear on the tires. If the matter becomes more serious, the wheels may start to wobble.

Noises When Driving at Normal Speeds

Under normal driving speeds, the squealing, whining, and screeching noises are caused by bad components. It is possible that the power steering system has damaged parts. So, it is advisable to have this checked by a professional mechanic.

If there is a loose belt or if the power steering fluid is running low, you can resolve the problem easily on your own. On the other hand, there are components in the power steering system that may crack, wear out, or break over time. These parts include the tie rod that links the knuckles and the steering gear; the belt that drives the pump on the engine’s front-end; and the hoses that bridge the gear and the pump. So, when you hear noises whenever you turn the steering wheel at normal driving speeds, it is an indication that there is a problem with the components of the power steering system.

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