Most of the noises your car makes while driving are perfectly natural. New or unexpected noises, though, are almost always cause for concern. And if you hear a noise when turning the steering wheel, then you should absolutely book your car in for a service as soon as possible.
But what does it mean when you hear a noise when turning the steering wheel? What sort of problems might this strange noise indicate?
Noise When Turning Steering Wheel – Likely Causes
Your car’s steering system is more complicated than you might think. So if you hear a strange creaking or clicking or squeaking noise when turning the steering wheel, it might indicate any number of problems. This could include:
Dry Ball Joints
Your car’s suspension system uses ball joints to ensure that everything can run as smoothly as possible. These ball joints must be lubricated. Because if they go dry, you’ll hear a dry cranking noise whenever you turn the steering wheel.
Cracked or Broken Bushings
Bushings are another integral part of your suspension system. They prevent components from rubbing against each other while still allowing for smooth movement. And if there’s a problem with your bushings – if they’re cracked or broken – then you’ll hear an awful creaking sound whenever you turn the wheel.
The shocks in your suspension system help absorb the vibrations and bumpiness that comes from driving. They’re there to ensure a smoother, more comfortable ride. But they wear out over time. And a key indicator that they’re wearing out is a noise whenever you turn the steering wheel. But before you notice this, you’ll probably notice that your car’s bouncing a lot more than it used to.
Power Steering Fluid Reservoir Debris
Most car power steering systems rely on a reservoir tank of power steering fluid. This reservoir has a bult-in filter to keep it free of dirt and debris. But if this filter fails, your power steering system won’t get the clean fluid it needs to work properly. As a result, you’ll hear a noise whenever you turn the wheel.
Power Steering Rack
The power steering rack supplies your steering rack with the hydraulic power steering liquid whenever you turn the wheel. If there’s an issue with your power steering rack, your steering rack won’t get the fluid it needs for smooth turning. Instead, you’ll hear a whining sound whenever you turn the wheel – and this sound will be most noticeable when you’re turning at low speeds.
Power Steering Fluid Running Low
If your power steering system needs fluid to function, then obviously you’re going to have problems if you run low on power steering fluid. Low power steering fluid levels also make it considerably harder to turn the wheel in the first place. So if you hear a noise when turning the wheel, and if the wheel’s also harder to turn, then you might have a leak in your reservoir tank or your hydraulic lines.
Worn Tie Rod Ends
When you turn the steering wheel, tie rod ends help move your wheels. Over time, these tie rod ends can wear out. And as they wear out, you’ll hear a knocking noise whenever you turn the steering wheel.
Noise When Turning Steering Wheel – What to Do
As you might have gathered by now, if you hear any noise when you’re turning the steering wheel, it’s a sign that something’s gone wrong. It could be a problem with your suspension, or it could be a problem with your power steering system. In either case, if you hear a noise when turning the steering wheel, book your car in for a service as soon as you can!
Whether you are an experienced driver or learning to drive, you may be getting used to driving a new car. Whether it’s brand new or second hand, it’s a good idea to spend a while driving it in silence – with no radio, no music, and no passengers. This way, you can get accustomed to the natural noises of your car – the sounds it makes when everything’s running like it should. This will make it easier for you to identify and act upon any unwelcome new noises further down the line for example, noises when you accelerate or other unusual noises. This means you’ll be able to fix issues long before they become serious problems.