Is your car making a loud noise when you turn it? What Causes It? How Can You Fix It?

Drivers are used to the vehicle turning smoothly. That’s the way it should be, and when your vehicle starts making noises as you turn, it’s a sign of a deeper problem that you need to investigate.

The longer you leave the problem unaddressed, the worse it’s probably going to get. The good news is that you can diagnose the problem yourself if you know what you’re looking for. Sometimes, repairs are as simple as adding power steering fluid.

Below we’ll break down some of the most common reasons your car might be making unusual noises when you turn!

Most common reasons for turning sounds are a bad coil spring, shock, or strut. You could also experience a bad steering wheel, tie rod ends or worn ball joints. It could be caused by a worn ball joint or a poor steering rack.

While these are the most common reasons, but not all of them; we will soon go through a more detailed list of the nine most common reasons your steering wheel will make noises while turning – with a bonus tip at the end! But first, let’s take a look at the basic mechanical breakdown for a deeper knowledge of the issue.

Índice de Contenido
  1. The Mechanical Basic Breakdown
  2. Steering wheel makes noises while turning
    1. 1. Broken Steering Rack, Pinion
    2. 2. Worn Struts, or Shocks
    3. 3. Wearned Steering Column Bearings or Boot
    4. 4. Broken or loose Tie Rod Ends/Boots
    5. 5. Wearn Ball Joints
    6. 6. Bushings for Worn Control Arms
    7. 7. Low- or old power steering fluid
    8. 8. Damaged Power Steering pump
    9. 9. Bearings on Bad Wheels
    10. Bonus Tip – Check the Obvious
  3. Summary

The Mechanical Basic Breakdown

Power Steering Function

This steering wheel is one of many components that help turn your tires. Attached to the steering column is the steering wheel, which then connects with the rack and the pinion.

When you turn your wheel the steering column spins and pushes the rack & pinion either way. The rack and pinion have a tie rod end attached to each side, connecting to your vehicle’s hub.

Each of these components has rubber bushings wherever two components meet to prevent a metal-on-metal contact – which can wear down the actual parts. However, as these bushings wear down, you’ll start to notice excessive movement in the system and hear noises as things shift around.

However, keep in mind that you’re putting a lot of force on your vehicle when you turn the wheel while driving. You can move all kinds of parts in your car with this force, most notably suspension components.

Now that you have a basic understanding of how the system is supposed to work, it’s time to start breaking down some of the most common causes!

Steering wheel makes noises while turning

1. Broken Steering Rack, Pinion

Steering Rack

Your steering system's largest component is the rack-and-pinion. There are tons of different moving parts in it, and it’s not uncommon for it to wear out and need replacing. If your rack and pinion are wearing out, you’ll likely hear loud bangs after you turn.

Furthermore, if the problem gets bad enough, you’ll likely feel it in the steering column. You might only feel a click under your vehicle when it turns.

Repairing the steering rack can be very costly so make sure to inspect all components.

2. Worn Struts, or Shocks

Strut Replacement Cost

Just because they’re suspension components doesn’t mean that they can’t be the cause of your noises when you turn the steering wheel.

It is possible that the mounting has become loose or damaged. If that’s the case, you’ll hear it slide around as you turn. Second, your suspension actually works when you turn the wheels and round corners. Because of this, if there’s an underlying problem, you might hear it when you turn the wheel.

The coil springs can also be broken, creating a loud sound. This can also be caused by the shock's top mount bearings.

3. Wearned Steering Column Bearings or Boot

Steering Column

A worn steering column bearing might cause a whining sound that sounds almost like the steering wheel. You also might notice excessive play in the steering wheel, but this isn’t always present if you have a worn steering column bearing.

You can usually solve this problem by spraying some grease on the bearing. The boot can be used to seal water in the interior of the cabin.

4. Broken or loose Tie Rod Ends/Boots

Tie Rod End Location E1609864283502

You connect your rack and pin to your tires using tie rod end. Rubber boots on tie rod end have the potential for wear and tear. You will hear the tie rod moving around when the metal strikes the hub. You’ll need to replace the tie rod end as soon as possible, or you’ll cause additional damage.

5. Wearn Ball Joints

Ball Joint Upper

When there is motion in the steering or suspension, ball joints will swivel. Two of the most frequent places where you will see ball joints are at tie rod ends or control arms. These ball joints can wear down and become stuck or move too much. Both of these problems can cause excessive sounds when turning the wheel.

6. Bushings for Worn Control Arms

Car Control Arm E1609785652938

While the control arm is a part of your suspension system, that won’t keep it from making noises if some of the bushings are worn. As the control arms shift around inside its housing as you turn, you’ll hear the loud bangs as it moves around. If the problem gets bad enough, you’ll actually feel the entire vehicle shift as the control arms’ weight slams into the side of the housing.

7. Low- or old power steering fluid

Old Power Steering Fluid

One of the most straightforward problems to fix that cause noise while you’re steering is a power steering pump without enough fluid. While it’s a closed system, which means it shouldn’t leak if there is a leak, one of the first signs will be noise as you turn.

But, it is not enough to just add fluid. You need to locate and fix the leak.

8. Damaged Power Steering pump

Power Steering Pump

Although power steering pumps make it easier to turn the wheel as you drive, they are noisy when they fail. If you hear any noises coming from the top of your engine bay as you turn, there’s a good chance it’s coming from the power steering pump.

9. Bearings on Bad Wheels

Worn Wheel Bearing
Bearings for very worn wheels

You might hear the wheel whirring when driving faster and while turning the steering wheels, this could be a sign of a damaged bearing. By turning your car, you put pressure on the wheel bearing. It will become more louder as it receives pressure. Learn more about wheel bearing symptoms.

Bonus Tip – Check the Obvious

Before you take your vehicle to the mechanic, do yourself a favor – check under your seats and throughout your cab to see if anything might be shifting around while you drive.

As an experienced mechanic, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a vehicle come in for a mystery noise only to discover an empty water bottle or other miscellaneous item banging around, creating the noise.

This may sound obvious but you can often overlook the main cause when you become stressed about an issue.


There are many reasons your steering wheel may make noises when you turn. You need to get it checked and fixed as quickly as possible. It is worse to let problems go untreated.

Keep in mind that boots and bushings are meant to protect expensive parts. When they wear out, they aren’t doing their job, which can lead to more expensive damages in short order.

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