One of the first and quite eloquent signs of breakdowns, malfunctions, wear parts and other problems in the work of the car, are extraneous sounds.
The mere existence of them indicates that, somewhere, something is not working properly.
Causes of squeak and other noises when turning the steering wheel
Often car owners complain about the squeak, hum, rattle when turning the steering wheel. The reasons for them can be many, and they require a comprehensive diagnosis.
It should be remembered that not a single expert can identify the problem only by you saying “the wheel squeaks when turning.” Troubleshooting requires a detailed description of all the nuances:
- nature of extraneous noise;
- circumstances in which it manifests itself (in motion or when turning the steering wheel in place, when entering a turn, etc.);
- directions of rotation – is the squeak constant, or appears (amplifies) only when turning to the left or the right;
- connection with external factors, such as driving on a rough road, car operation in cold weather, high humidity;
- accompanying “symptoms” – a knock at various parts, impacts to the steering wheel, its deflection, etc.
What can squeak when turning the steering wheel, how to fix problems
Sources of squeak and other noise when turning the steering wheel can be:
- steering control (steering column, rail, tie rods, and steering rods, power steering);
- suspension parts;
- brake system.
1. Steering wheel
Squeak or “shuffling” are heard directly in the cabin and are not related to the steering mechanisms. Often found in budget car models due to poor quality materials processing. The reason – the friction of the steering wheel on the plastic, looseness of fastenings, including the mechanism of the sound signal.
Does not require significant effort to eliminate. The steering wheel can be easily disassembled and removed, if necessary, the upper part of the steering column plastic body is processed. When installing the mounting carefully tightened.
2. Steering column
The steering column is a fairly simple mechanism that breaks down extremely rarely, but when it breaks, it often requires a complex and expensive replacement. Therefore, in case of its breakdown, it could not get along without professional service.
If the culprit is the steering column, the squeak will be superficial. It is felt right on the steering wheel and often gives off vibrations. Usually, in this case, it is quite easy to determine the problem.
The sources of squeak and other extraneous noise can be:
- Housing made of cheap plastic in budget cars.
- Steering column clutch. Eliminated by filling in of the required amount of greasing, the type of which depends on the material of the clutch.
- Steering column crosspiece – cardan rubs against the walls of the dust cover (installed “in the legs” at the place of transition of the column into the engine compartment). May appear after the repair due to slight displacement of parts. It is solved by greasing.
- Steering column curvature. The squeak is superficial, additional signs – vibration on the steering wheel, shocks. The cure is the replacement of the steering column, although a slight noise level indicates that the malfunction is not critical.
3. Steering rack
When a squeak appears, it is recommended, first of all, to check the pair of the rack with the steering column.
A strange sound may appear due to wear of parts (then a replacement will be required), or incorrect adjustment. On some models it is possible to make adjustments independently, in some cases it is necessary to contact the service organizations.
In addition, the causes of squeaking can be:
- the inner part of the rack is worn. The squeaking is present due to poor contact of the mechanism with the body;
- the dust cover on the rack broke, and dirt got inside – you can easily check this by feeling the rubber dust cover on the rack body with your hand;
- the rack mechanism loosened and began to squeak at the passage through the body;
- the steering tips, which, when rotated, rub against traction, can also cause a squeak;
- the rack is damaged, its body slightly arched and began to squeak when you turn the steering wheel.
These are only assumptions, not the exact causes of the problem. In most cases, if the steering rack is very worn or bent, repair does not make sense.
The mechanism is changed in the complex, which can cost a considerable amount of money. However, this unit is responsible for the quality of steering and safety on the trip. Hence its quality is the main purpose of the repair.
4. Other steering parts
Squeak, gnash, and other phenomena also accompany the wear of the steering system parts.
- Damage of hinged joint dust cover of the steering rods. Ingestion of sand and dirt causes squeak and gnash. Their integrity is easy to check visually and manually, if necessary – replace.
- Wear of steering joints. In addition to squeaking and gnashing on turns, a backlash and a particular blow appear in the initial section of the steering wheel turn. Worn hinges (or pull-rods entirely) are replaced.
- Violation of the integrity of the anthers of the tips of the steering rods. The squeak appears during turns and on uneven roads due to the ingress of sand and dirt. It is recommended to replace not only the anthers but also the tips (new tips are installed, usually on both sides at once).
- The lack of greasing or grains of sand in the bearings of the steering knuckles will show itself by squeaking and whistling, by heating the bearings. The problem will be solved by greasing.
5. Power steering
In the steering of the cars where it is installed, this is the loudest node. When turning the steering wheel of a standing vehicle, it produces a characteristic buzz. Its enhancement indicates insufficient fluid level. It can be quickly eliminated – just pour a liquid in the tank.
Other extraneous noises – squeaking and whistling refer to more severe problems. The reasons for their appearance may be the weakening or wear of the power steering belt, ingress of air into the system, a malfunction of the power steering pump. It is better to diagnose and fix them in specialized services.
6. Parts of the suspension and chassis
The characteristic “rubber” squeak when turning the steering wheel of a standing car can be caused by incorrect adjustment of the wheel alignment angles (toe-in toe-out). It is better to check and adjust the angles in the auto repair shop, equipped with modern stands.
The squeaking and crunching when turning the steering wheel in motion and in place often testify about the wear of the ball bearings. An additional sign to diagnose a malfunction is the play of the lifted wheel. Bearing parts should be replaced.
Similar “symptoms” appear when the support bearings of the racks are worn (there is no wheel play). Additional grease will temporarily fix the problem, but the real solution is to replace the bearings.
In front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive cars, worn or faulty CV joints can squeak and crunch. The intensity of the sound increases with the speed increase and the steepness of the turn. Diagnosed by running a car in a circle. The presence of crunch during maneuvers indicates the need for immediate replacement of parts.
Shock absorbers, whose resource is already developed, can also squeak when cornering. During maneuvers, they account an increased load, which leads to unpleasant sounds. In addition, the need for replacement is indicated by blows when moving on an uneven surface, drips on the body of shock absorbers.
Any vehicle is a complex system consisting of thousands of different nodes. Therefore, all sorts of noises can appear both because of serious problems in the mechanisms and because of the loosening of any simple element in the cabin.
However, the car owner must oversee the appearance of various sound effects, both when the car is moving and when the steering wheel is turned while parked. After all, only timely diagnosis of a malfunction can be considered the key to successful repair and safe driving.
It should be borne in mind that any difficulties with turning the steering wheel must be solved immediately since the problem can turn into a failure of one of the elements of the steering system and the accident. Do not ignore the appearance of non-typical car sounds, as safety and even people’s lives depend on it.