Blog Car Care Advice Steering Wheel Noises When Turning: 6 Reasons + Their Fixes
Car Care Advice

Steering Wheel Noises When Turning: 6 Reasons + Their Fixes

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Ever experienced an unexpected pop or knock when turning your steering wheel?   

Well, that’s your car telling you something is amiss with your steering wheel. 

But don’t worry:
We’ll explore a few reasons why you hear a strange steering wheel noise when turning, what you can do about it, and how you can prevent it.

This Article Contains:

Let’s put those noises to sleep!

6 Reasons Why Your Steering Wheel Makes Noise When Turning

Your steering wheel connects to a network of linkages and gears that translates your input into lateral wheel movements. 

From knocking to creaking noises, here are a few potential sounds you might hear from your steering wheel and their causes:

1. Whining Noise 

Sometimes, power steering fluid seals can wear down from normal use and leak out the fluid. In such cases, your power steering pump can whine to indicate you’re low on steering fluid. That’s when you should top it off or replace it if it’s dirty.

However, If you hear a whining noise and need a lot of effort to turn your steering wheel when your vehicle is cold, it could indicate a worn-out power steering rack. This usually improves as your car warms up. 

A worn-out universal joint can also make similar noises and turn stiff when trying to turn. 

If you have a worn-out power steering rack and universal joint, replacement is the most cost-effective solution. 

2. Popping, Clunking and Creaking Noise

Hearing some very unpleasant clunks and creaks when you turn at low speed?
Well, your suspension joints might have worn out or are broken and need replacement.

Popping or clunking noise can be caused by loose suspension system components like bushings or nuts. These components may move around excessively when you turn or go over bumps.  

You might also hear a popping sound if you have a worn or damaged outer CV joint

How do we know it’s really the CV joint?
Crank your steering wheel to one side and drive the vehicle in reverse in a circle. If the noise gets louder, you need to get the CV shaft assembly replaced by a mechanic immediately.

Additionally, suspension bushings can wear out and make a loud clunking and creaking noise when disintegrating. This can cause vibrations and make it difficult to turn corners. A faulty shock and strut can also make a clunking, squeaking, and clicking noise when cornering or traveling over uneven surfaces.  

3. Growling Noise

If you hear a growling noise, inadequate lubrication in the inner or outer CV joint could be your culprit. This usually happens when the protective boot covering the joint is damaged and lets the grease out. You might also hear a humming noise. 

These noises can also indicate a damaged wheel bearing, bad intermediate shaft bearing, or worn-out shaft bearings within the transaxle. 

4. Knocking Noise

A bad tie rod can create a knocking or clunking noise when you turn at lower speeds or drive over small bumps on the road. That’s because a tie rod helps transfer motion from the steering rack to the wheels. You should replace a damaged tie rod immediately.

Now, if you notice poor handling and a knocking sound when turning, the problem might be your sway bar. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to take your vehicle to an expert and replace either the affected parts or the entire sway bar.

5. Squeaking Noise

Ball joints help your vehicle’s suspension control arm and steering knuckle move together. If they get dry, you might hear squeaking or creaking noises when you turn the steering wheel slowly. Not lubricating these joints can also cause uneven tire wear and, in severe cases, a loss of vehicle control. 

6. Roaring Noise  

Although rare, a damaged upper steering column bearing can cause a roaring or humming sound and noticeable looseness in the steering wheel. 

This bearing supports the upper part of the steering column. It ensures the steering wheel turns smoothly and prevents steering system wear. A professional may repair the damaged parts or replace them entirely for a smooth ride. 

Got more questions?
Let’s answer them next.

4 FAQs about Steering Wheel

Here are some frequently asked questions about steering wheel issues and their answers:

1. What Is the Cost of Fixing Loud Steering Wheel Noise?

The cost depends on your vehicle model, the extent of damage, and the parts that need to be replaced. Here are some estimates:

2. Is It Safe to Drive with a Loud Steering Wheel?

No, it isn’t safe to drive with a noisy steering wheel. Typically, any noise heard when turning the steering wheel indicates an issue that needs immediate attention. It’s best to get your vehicle checked by an expert mechanic as soon as possible.

3. How Do You Prevent Steering Wheel Noise Issues?

Take these steps to avoid steering wheel noises:

4. What Other Steering Problems Should You Be Aware Of?

Here are a few steering wheel issues you should look out for:

Steer Your Vehicle Noise-free with AutoNation Mobile Service

Steering wheel noise, especially when you turn, can stem from various sources, such as low power steering fluid, a worn suspension component, or issues with the steering rack. However, identifying these issues on your own can be a nerve-wracking experience.

But not when you have experts from AutoNation Mobile Service ready to help you stay on the road!

We’re a mobile auto repair service available seven days a week. We offer upfront pricing, convenient online booking, and a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty on all repairs.

Just get in touch with us, and we’ll come and fix any noisy car trouble in your driveway.