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Creaking noise when turning steering wheel inspection
Creaking noise when turning steering wheel?
Ideally, when you turn the steering wheel it shouldn’t make any noise. The vehicle should go in the direction you want it to go without too many creaky complaints. However, if there are some unusual noises there may well be an issue with the steering.
The only problem here is that steering requires many components to work together, and identifying which one that pesky noise is coming from will take some investigation. There are, however, some common noises that are associated with specific types of steering issues and what might sound like a creak to you might sound like a ‘clunk’ or ‘whir' to someone else.
How does the steering work?
Steering involves a series of systems working together and many of these components will make a noise when they fail due to the ongoing stress they are under.
When the steering wheel is turned that motion moves from the steering column to the power steering unit. Here, the steering effort is increased and less effort is required by the driver at the steering wheel. This power steering system is filled with fluid and if there is a leak the system will emit a whining noise. If left unchecked, this problem can cause permanent damage.
The power steering rack is mounted to the vehicle via steering rack mounting bushes. These provide stability and absorb impacts between joints. When the bushes wear out it can cause clunking, clicking or popping noises. Steering may also feel inconsistent.
The steering rack moves the tie rod and the tie rod end. These components direct the steering motion to the wheel. If a tie rod is damaged or the bushes have failed, this can cause a clunking noise when turning at low speed.
A vehicle also has control arms which attach to steering knuckles via ball joints. Ball joints provide restricted movement within the joint and can prevent vibration. When ball joints fail this can cause a clunking noise, noticeable drift and steering vibration.
Finally, the shock absorbers or struts on a vehicle don’t just absorb energy and disperse heat - they make a journey over uneven surfaces much more tolerable. When a shock absorber fails the seals deteriorate and oil leaks from them. Once this happens they are unable to effectively absorb the spring rebound. Knocking and clunking noises may be heard on cornering and going over bumps.
Common reasons for the steering to make noises
- Worn steering bushes
- Power steering failure
- Damaged tie rod or worn tie rod end
- Faulty ball joints
- Worn or damaged shock absorber/strut
How is steering inspection performed?
- A test drive may be performed to identify noise
- Vehicle will be placed on a hoist
- Steering components will be checked
- Fault identified and quote issued to repair or replace
How important is a steering inspection?
It’s very important to have the steering inspected at every service interval or whenever a steering noise is identified. The steering needs to work effectively so you can safely navigate on the road. Faulty steering components can cause uneven tyre wear, poor quality of ride and, in the worst-case scenario, could even result in a wheel falling off!
Do you have odd noises coming from the car when you steer? Book an AutoGuru vehicle inspection today, and get a handle on any steering issues.