Why Does My Car Squeal When I Turn the Wheel?

Dustin Hawley | Oct 12, 2022

Drivers encounter their fair share of issues when on the road. Faulty spark plugs, worn-out catalytic converter, or lit-up lights on your dashboard; anything can happen with your vehicle, and there’s no way to ensure against that.

Why Does My Car Squeal When I Turn the Wheel

One of the most important things drivers need to pay attention to is steering. If your steering goes out or, as in this case, starts producing an unnaturally annoying sound, this is a definite cause for concern. 

This article will look at multiple reasons for your car squeaking on turns. We will try to cover as many as possible while advising on how you should approach fixing them. 

Reasons For The Squeaking Noise

Whenever your car starts to produce any kind of irregular noise, it often indicates that something is wrong. If you turn your steering wheel and hear a definite squeak, you should try to determine what exactly causes that or turn to an auto shop. 

Depending on what happened with your steering system, various issues may cause the sound to appear. 

Power Steering Failure

One of the more common reasons has to do with power steering. It is the loudest node in any car, after all. Typically, you can hear a slight buzz whenever it works, but if it starts squeaking, that is another story.

Many parts, besides the pump, steering box, and a series of hoses, make up the system. So, whenever one of them fails, it causes a squeaking noise when you turn. Moreover, If your car is relatively old, the issue is related to hoses and pumps that need to be replaced.

Low Power Steering Fluid

Power steering fluid is no less important than the power steering system itself. It is a hydraulic liquid that transmits power to your car’s steering system. It creates pressure on the sides of the rock-mounted piston and helps the vehicle run smoothly. 

As you can guess, driving around without any lubrication will start causing the noise. It will appear if the fluid level is meager or runs out. Driving around without filling up on this liquid could cause control difficulties, making each turn significantly more challenging. 

Contaminated Power Steering Fluid

Another issue can be that the fluid has gone bad. It can either break down, the components can hamper steering, or it can become contaminated.

Tiny particles break off from the parts in your steering system and accumulate in the liquid. The fluid will change color and become darker. If left unchecked, this will cause clogging and lead to loud squeals and squeaks.

Rubbing Against The Interior Trim

The steering wheel housing can also cause the squeaking noise. During hot weather, the metal material making up the wheel can expand. Once it does, the gap between itself and the interior trim closes, causing collision and noise.

Driving around with such an issue could result in faster wear and tear for the steering wheel and the interior trim. It will also make controlling the vehicle difficult and potentially get you in life-threatening road accidents. 

Belt Issues

The noise could also come from two belts in your car. The first is your steering wheel belt. After prolonged use, it can become loose and cause squeaking. It is also a widespread issue for used vehicles, where years of driving have undoubtedly taken their toll on the car.

A fan belt can also cause a squeaking noise because it is loose. It connects essential parts in your motor and could cause severe damage to the vehicle if it is at fault. But as we mentioned, there are two of them. 

Unusual Surface Or New Vehicle

Many issues don’t indicate faultiness or breakages. They accumulate wear and tear faster, causing issues with depth and tread. Driving on rough or bumpy terrain could strain the tires, causing issues with depth and tread. It causes a squeaking noise to appear when driving on some surfaces.

Another potential issue is just that the car is new. Such vehicles require a “break-in” and can make annoying squeaking noises without it. 

Summary

Dealing with steering wheel issues can get pretty complex, and you could unknowingly further damage the vehicle. There are a couple of ways to deal with this problem. The first and the easiest is to visit an auto shop.

But, a good start would be changing the power steering fluid if you want to go DIY-style. Ensure the canister is not damaged and the liquid is not expired. Alternatively, try lubricating the moving car parts or tinkering with the suspension, as these may also be the source of the noise.

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