The driver's ability to react promptly to road conditions largely depends on the steering wheel of the car. However, entering a sharp turn can be difficult if the steering wheel makes a grinding noise when you turn.
This can happen for a number of reasons directly related to the vehicle's steering and suspension systems. Furthermore, this noise could be an indication of serious issues that require your immediate attention.
Ignoring a grinding, squeaking or clanging noise can endanger your safety as it indicates that one or more parts of the steering or suspension system are not working properly.
So, in this article, we will look at all the reasons why your steering wheel makes a grinding noise when driving and give you tips on how to fix this problem.
How does the steering system work?
The steering wheel of any type of motor vehicle must operate silently at all speeds. Any noise that occurs when turning the steering wheel could indicate that something is wrong with the steering system.
This system allows a driver to steer a vehicle using only a moderate amount of force, regardless of the vehicle's weight.
A simple turn of the steering wheel keeps the car's wheels in the chosen direction via a pivot system designed to allow the wheels to go up or down without changing direction.
There are currently two commonly used types of steering systems, and your vehicle may be equipped with a rack and pinion system or a steering box system.
Some cars may also come with power steering, which makes parking in tight spaces easier and reduces the number of steering wheel turns you have to make while driving.
It is worth noting that grinding noise can occur with any of the suspension systems due to worn components. clickon hereto learn more about dry rot tires.
How does a suspension system work?
The suspension system is just as important for your safety on the road as the steering system, because without it your vehicle cannot absorb the impacts that occur.
It consists of springs and shock absorbers that prevent a car from bouncing after hitting a bump in the road. Most modern vehicles use some variation of an independent suspension system, which means that all wheels, or at least the front pair, are independently attached to the car's bodywork.
Consequently, the movement of one wheel does not affect the movements of the other, allowing them to better handle different forces.
Air suspension systems using air-filled reservoirs instead of steel coil springs can be found on modern luxury vehicles and SUVs.
Even if your car has the latest suspension system with excellent damping properties, some components can fail over time, which can cause the steering wheel to start making a rubbing noise when you turn it.
Knowing which suspension system your car uses can help you solve this problem faster and save you time looking for replacement parts in the aftermarket. follow thisshortcutto know when you need new tires.
The types of noise the steering wheel can make when turning
In addition to grinding noises, steering wheels can make a variety of noises, all of which indicate that one or more components of your vehicle's steering and suspension systems are faulty.
For example, a car may make howling, knocking, clicking, or squealing noises when you turn the steering wheel, and each of these noises occurs in different contexts.
Whining noises usually indicate power problemsLenkpumpe, while pops and streams suggest that the suspension joints are worn out or completely broken.
Hum, on the other hand, is generated by the wheel bearings and can be the result of uneven weight distribution as the load shifts from one wheel to another.
Friction noises are usually caused by problems with the upper steering column bearing, although the problem can also be caused by the steering wheel cover rubbing against the steering column covers.
If you hear any of these noises, you should seek professional advice to prevent further damage.
The speed at which the noise occurs
The rate at which friction and other noises are generated can also help you determine which part of the car is broken or worn out.
If you hear grinding, howling or squeaking noises when driving at low speed, it is very likely that the suspension joints are not working properly.
These suspension system components support the weight of the vehicle, causing them to fail over time. However, the steering wheel can make noises even at low speeds because the power steering pump is damaged.
Noises that the steering wheel makes during normal driving are usually related to problems with the steering system.
Consequently, these noises may indicate that one of the system components may be faulty. If you keep hearing grinding noises when turninghigh speedsThe problem is most likely caused by worn bearings, differentials or CV joints.
Ignoring these warning signs can make it increasingly difficult to maintain control of the vehicle and affect your ability to drive on winding roads. clickon hereif you want to learn how to fix a wobbly car.
The causes of the grinding noise that the steering wheel makes when driving
Steering wheel squeaking noises are like warning signs, letting you know that some component of the suspension or steering system is not working properly.
Knowing what the potential sources of these noises could be will help you to identify a problem in its early stages and quickly find the most suitable solution. Let's take a look at some of the most common causes of the grinding noise your steering wheel makes when turning.
Power steering is faulty
The noise the steering wheel makes when turning at low speed is usually caused by the power steering, although a vane or belt pump can also be the cause of this steering wheel noise.
In most cases, you don't need to replace your entire power steering, just the faulty part that's causing the unpleasant noise.
Worn struts and shock absorbers
Shock absorbers and struts are built to last, with most models being replaceable after 100,000 miles. Steering wheel noise is one of the first signs that your shock absorbers and suspension struts are having problems.
Also, your vehicle may start to jump when you hit a small bump, which is another reason why you need to fix this issue as soon as you notice it.
Steering column bearing broke
If you hear a loud noise when turning, check the upper steering column bearing.
During the summer months, heat can cause the steering column parts to expand, which is often why the plastic on the back of the steering wheel starts to rub against the steering column cover.
Defective tie rod ends
A vehicle's wheels, due to tie rods, can only respond to commands from a driver who is in control of the steering wheel.
As soon as a tie rod becomes loose or damaged, the steering wheel will start to squeak or knock. This problem often occurs when drivers try to turn the steering wheel at low speeds.
dry ball joints
The ball joints are what help the control arms and steering linkages keep the vehicle moving, but to perform their function, the ball joints must be lubricated.
A dry ball joint will usually produce a squeaking noise when the steering wheel is turned, while in some cases it may even cause the steering wheel to wobble.
Dry compression bushings on front struts
The front struts are equipped with stop bushings placed on top. These rubber parts of the struts serve as cushions, absorbing shock from road irregularities, reducing vibration and noise, or controlling joint movement.
As the stop bushings start to dry out, they start to make a squeaking noise that only gets worse until lubricated.
Power steering fluid leak
All power steering systems have a specially formulated fluid to lubricate and transfer the pressure needed for smooth operation of the steering wheel.
A sudden drop in power steering fluid usually indicates a leak. Also, a low fluid level can cause the steering wheel to squeal when turning.
Worn steering arm bushings
Steering arms connect the wheel hub and steering knuckle to the vehicle's frame and are fitted with a bushing that allows the car to adapt to road conditions.
All the shock and vibration the control arm bushings absorb will cause them to crack over time. If you hear a squeaking sound every time you turn the steering wheel, check the steering arm bushings and make sure they are still working.
Power steering fluid reservoir is clogged
As already mentioned, the power steering system cannot work without the fluid that provides lubrication. This liquid is stored in a reservoir equipped with a filter to prevent dirt from entering.
However, the reservoir can become clogged if not regularly maintained, which in turn can cause steering wheel noise when driving.
The steering shaft gasket needs to be replaced.
The flywheel and rack are connected with a gasket placed between them to make the shaft straight.
Everyday wear and tear can mean that the steering shaft joint no longer moves properly, the steering wheel becomes stiff, and grinding noises occur.
Fixed issues that caused the steering wheel to make rubbing noises when turning
A grinding or other noise you hear when turning the steering wheel is a warning that something is wrong with the steering or suspension system.
Determining which component in these systems is at fault is a little more difficult, as different types of noise can indicate that different parts need to be replaced or repaired.
Trying to diagnose yourself is only a good idea if you have the knowledge and skills to go through this process yourself.
It is much safer to take your vehicle to a mechanic as they can tell you exactly which part of the steering or suspension system needs replacing and advise you on where to get a suitable replacement.
Also, fixing the issues that cause your steering wheel to squeak when driving is a highly technical process that cannot be completed without the proper tools.
The cost of repairing the steering and suspension system
While grinding, squeaking, and all other types of noise indicate that one or more components in the steering or suspension system are faulty, it's hard to say how much it will cost to repair them.
There may be times when the mechanic just needs to lubricate a dry ball joint or spring bushing and you don't have to spend a lot of money to fix this problem.
In some cases, however, it may be necessary to replace tie rods or install new shock absorbers and struts, which can cost several hundred dollars, if not more.
Also, if you don't take your vehicle to the mechanic as soon as the steering wheel starts to make noise, the cost of repairs can increase, as the chances of the damaged part breaking completely only increase if you wait.
Frequently asked questions about steering wheel squeaking when driving
What to do if my steering wheel starts to make grinding noises?
It is not advisable to ignore this problem or try to fix it yourself, as you could end up accidentally damaging your car's suspension or steering system. Take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible if the steering wheel starts to make rubbing noises.
How often do I need to check my suspension or steering system?
Consult your mechanic to find out how often you need to perform routine checks on your vehicle, which include suspension and steering system inspections.
What preventive measures can I take to prevent the steering wheel from squeaking?
Ensuring all parts of the steering and suspension system are properly lubricated and making sure the power steering fluid reservoir is not clogged are some of the best preventative measures you can take to reduce the chances of steering wheel noise.
Is it safe to drive my car if the steering wheel makes a grinding noise when turning?
Although you can drive your car even if the steering wheel rubs or makes other noises, problems that prevent the steering wheel from running quietly can affect your car's performance and put your safety at risk.
Any issues that can cause the steering wheel to make a rubbing noise when driving are caused by faulty components in the suspension and steering systems.
However, different types of noise can indicate a multitude of problems, making it difficult to determine which parts of these systems need to be checked.
Eliminating steering noise when cornering requires professional attention, as assessing the extent of damage or lubricating various car parts can be a daunting task for a car enthusiast.
I hope this article has helped you to find out why your steering wheel is making a grinding noise when you drive and has given you enough information to fix this issue. Leave a comment and share your opinion with us or follow thisshortcutfor more car care tips.
David specializes in automotive diagnostics and has been working with cars for over 10 years. He is also a self reporter and proofreader. It covers the topics most important to consumers. From adaptive cruise control to cold weather car care and the best products for all driving conditions, David has you covered.
What would cause a grinding noise when turning the steering wheel? ›
Grinding or Clicking Noise when Turning Steering Wheel – Any sound such as a grinding, clicking, or rumbling sound when turning is often caused by a failing constant velocity or CV joint. CV joints allow the front wheels to receive power to move.How do I fix my power steering noise when I turn? ›
- Check Power Steering Fluid Levels.
- Find the Leak.
- Remove & Replace the Plug.
- Reattach the Power Steering Hoses.
- Flush Air from the System.
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.How much does it cost to fix power steering noise? ›
The average cost to replace a power steering pump replacement is somewhere between $500 and $700. The part itself makes up most of that number, costing between $350 and $500.How much does it cost to fix power steering? ›
While the price of this repair can vary, expect to pay between $500 and $800 to get your power steering pump replaced. Depending on your car, the cost could exceed that price, or fall below it.Why does it sound like metal grinding when I turn? ›
If the grinding noise is louder when turning in one direction, the likely cause is a failing wheel bearing. If you suspect you have a bad wheel bearing, get your vehicle to your technician for a diagnosis.How do I know if I need power steering fluid? ›
If your wheel feels "hard" and tough to turn, you might need power steering fluid. Loud steering: Steering shouldn't make sounds. The minute you notice that your steering wheel is making loud noises, it's time to check the power steering wheel fluid level in your vehicle.How do you bleed power steering? ›
Crack open the bleed valve slightly. Turn the steering wheel several times lock to lock. Top off the power steering fluid once the air is no longer in there. Turn the steering wheel a few more times and check the fluid level once more before driving.What does low power steering fluid sound like? ›
If you notice a squealing or whining noise whenever the wheels turn, there is a strong possibility that it is due to low power steering fluid. The power steering system uses a pump so the fluid can flow for smooth steering.
As with most fluids, power steering fluid can become contaminated and thus break down over-time. In turn, the constant circulation of this old fluid can wear down you're the components in the power steering system and it can also trigger the power steering pump noise that we really want to avoid hearing.
What are the signs of power steering problems? ›
- Whining Noise When You Turn the Wheel. ...
- Slow Responding or Stiff Steering Wheel. ...
- Squealing Noise Upon Starting Your Vehicle. ...
- Reddish Puddle Underneath Your Car.
If your tires are worn down, you'll hear a clicking noise every time you turn. You can usually tell if your tires are worn down by checking the tread depth. If the tread depth is less than 2/32 inch, then the tires need to be replaced.Does wheel bearing noise go away when turning? ›
The classic sounds of a bad wheel bearing are cyclic chirping, squealing and/or growling noise. You can also tell that the sound is related to wheel bearings if it changes in proportion to vehicle speed. The sound can get worse with every turn, or it can disappear momentarily.How much is power steering fluid? ›
Not much! Power steering fluid costs around $10 a bottle, and the bottle will last you a couple of top-offs. Opting to refill the power steering fluid yourself is a pretty easy process, even for those who are intimidated by the prospect of looking under the hood.Can I drive with a damaged power steering pump? ›
You can drive with a bad power steering pump, but it's not recommended. The pump is responsible for transmitting power to the steering wheel, so if it's not working properly, you won't be able to steer the car. In some cases, you may even experience difficulty braking the car.How much does it cost to fix power steering hose? ›
The average cost for replacing a power steering hose is $50 to $800, depending on if you go to the mechanic or DIY. The price range for replacing a power steering hose is based on the national averages for all vehicle types, does not consider your particular make or model, and does not include any taxes or fees.How do I test my steering rack? ›
Part of a steering rack check involves raising the front of the car but retaining its weight on its wheels. You must also get underneath the car while a helper turns the wheels to and fro. Unless you can gain access to a proper inspection pit you may have to use wheel ramps.How much does it cost to replace a bad power steering pump? ›
Depending on where you live, a shop can charge you between $50 and $125 per hour for labor. Ultimately, having a shop replace the power steering pump for you will likely cost between $200 and $500 in labor alone. Labor is usually cheaper if you replace the power steering pump yourself.How long does it take to fix a power steering issue? ›
Estimated times for your repair range from 1-2 hours. Most technicians and shops charge a minimum hourly charge for labor, on top of the cost for parts and fluids.Is it safe to drive with a grinding noise? ›
This isn't advisable for two reasons: It is not Safe. Driving on Grinding Brakes will only make the issue Worse and increase the Cost of Repair. The Grinding Noise your Brakes are making is the lack of Pad Material in the Brakes. The Rotors and Pads become Metal to Metal.
Can ball joints make a grinding noise? ›
Worn-out ball joints may also start to make a grinding noise while you're going down the road. Cars can make a variety of grinding noises, and it can be difficult to tell which ones may be coming from your ball joints, which may have other causes.What causes grinding noise? ›
You might notice a grinding noise when driving at low speeds. The most common causes are problems with your continual velocity joints, brake pads, wheel bearings or alternator.Can I just add power steering fluid? ›
If the fluid is below the “MIN” line, remove the cap (or leave the dipstick out) and add power steering fluid in small amounts, checking the level after each time. Don't fill it above the “MAX” line. Replace the cap or dipstick, and make sure it's sealed tight.What can I use instead of power steering fluid? ›
If your car's power steering fluid is low, you can use automatic transmission fluid (ATF); however, this should be a temporary solution in most cases. Both your power steering system and your transmission are hydraulic, so that is why the two fluids are somewhat interchangeable.What happens if you don't change your power steering fluid? ›
Over years of use, the power steering fluid gets dirty along the way. Dirty fluids create vastly more friction, becoming abrasive. Dirty fluids can even go so far as to ruin the seals in the pump or the seals on the rack, which can be incredibly expensive to replace.What happens if there is air in the power steering? ›
The power steering pump operates by hydraulics, and anything that operates by hydraulics can easily be affected if air gets into the system. Any air that gets into the power-steering system will be compressed by the pump and will result in noise and difficulty steering.Can low oil affect power steering? ›
If you are referring to engine oil, lack of engine oil might cause the engine to stop and that would cause loss of power steering.What does it sound like when a power steering pump is going out? ›
However, you should be aware of a few signs that your power steering pump is failing. One of the first things you may notice is a whining or groaning sound when you turn your wheel. This could be accompanied by a stiff wheel that is harder to turn at times or is slow to respond when you begin a turn.How do you know if your power steering fluid is dirty? ›
Most of the time, the power steering fluid should be red and clean. If the fluid looks dark, dingy, or has a charred smell, it usually means there's a problem. Worst case scenario, you may need to have the system flushed out and replaced with fresh power steering fluid.What are the 8 causes of hard steering? ›
- Tire Pressure. Surprisingly, bad air pressure could be a cause for steering wheel hard to turn. ...
- Bad Steering Rack. ...
- Damaged Serpentine Belt. ...
- Fluid Leakage. ...
- Pump Malfunction. ...
- Thick Fluid. ...
- Check air pressure of your car tires. ...
- Check power steering condition and fluid level.
What are three of the main problems that occur with steering systems? ›
- Low Power Steering Fluid. Low power steering fluid is one of the most common issues that you'll have as a driver. ...
- Power Steering Fluid Leaks. ...
- Failing Steering Rack Mount. ...
- Damaged Or Worn-Out Power Steering Belt. ...
- Bad Strut Bearings Or Tie Rods.
Driving your car without power steering can cause damage to your vehicle. In some states, it's also illegal to drive without power steering since it can pose a danger to both you and other drivers on the road. When your power steering goes out, your wheel is much harder to turn than it normally is.When I turn right my car makes a noise? ›
If your car makes noise when turning right but not left, the issue is most likely caused by a problem with the steering system—like worn-out tie rods or a damaged rack and pinion—or issues with the suspension system, like damaged, loose, or worn-out struts and shocks.What are the signs of a damaged wheel bearing? ›
- Noise: A humming, rumbling or growling noise that increases with acceleration or as the vehicle turns. ...
- Looseness, excessive play in the steering wheel (vague steering);
- Steering wheel vibration which changes with the vehicle speed or as the vehicle turns;
- ABS malfunctioning.
The national average is about $350 to fix the wheel bearings at one wheel. As you might imagine, however, luxury brands cost more. Please note: If the wheel bearings need replacing at one wheel, you don't necessary need to replace the bearings at the other wheel on the same axle. It's not like matching a pair of tires.What is the best steering fluid? ›
- Lubegard 23232 Power Steering Fluid. ...
- Johnsen's 4611 Power Steering Fluid. ...
- Lucas Oil Power Steering Fluid. ...
- Red Line 30404 Power Steering Fluid. ...
- ACDelco 10-5074 Power Steering Fluid. ...
- TRIAX 450 Power Steering Fluid. ...
- PEAK OET Power Steering Fluid. ...
- Prestone AS264 Power Steering Fluid.
On average, vehicles need a power steering fluid flush every 40,000-80,000 miles. In some cases, manufacturer recommendations can go even higher or lower than this range. Your recommended flush routine depends heavily on your type of vehicle—as the steering system and fluid needs can vary.What happens if you drive with low steering fluid? ›
Driving your car for extended periods without power steering fluid can damage the pump. While there's nothing that physically stops you from driving your car if you have a power steering fluid leak, once the level drops, your pump runs dry. This causes increased friction and heat and can quickly cause expensive damage.Can a CV axle cause a grinding noise? ›
If the issue is the CV Axle being worn out, the grinding noise will be deep and happen at low speeds usually as you are turning or stopping. The reason for this is the axle component is broken down and not articulating properly and stiffening the axle. Old worn out brake pads make a little different noise.Will a power steering pump make a grinding noise? ›
If there is no aeration in the fluid, it may be, the bearing is failing in the power steering pump. I recommend having your vehicle's power steering grinding noise be diagnosed and repaired by a certified technician, such as one from YourMechanic.
How do you tell if CV axle is damaged? ›
- A Tear in the Boot.
- Grease Found on the Inside of Your Wheels. ...
- Knocking Sound. ...
- Clicking While Turning. ...
- Vibration While Driving. ...
The price to replace a CV joint, or joints, will depend on the age, make, and model of your vehicle. If you own a mainstream affordable vehicle, the price to replace a CV joint is likely to run in the range of $900 to $1200. The majority of the cost will be labor.How long can you drive with a damaged CV joint? ›
You may be able to drive on a bad CV axle for several months, but it depends on the extent of the damage. We're obliged to let you know that the safest thing to do is get the axle replaced immediately. The longer you wait, the worse the damage will be.