Noise When Turning the Steering Wheel While Stationary – Why This happens & Potential Steps to Fix them

Have you ever heard strange noises coming from your car when you turn the steering wheel while stationary? It can be a concerning and frustrating experience, especially if you’re unsure what’s causing it.

There are several reasons behind such noise. Common culprits include issues with the power steering system, suspension, or brakes. If you’re experiencing this issue, it’s essential to address them quickly. 

These issues can worsen over time, potentially leading to dangerous driving situations if left unattended. To help you identify the cause of the noise, we’ll discuss some of the most common reasons why your car might make these noises and what you can do to fix them

Top 6 Reasons For Steering Wheel Noise When Turning 

Whining With Sudden Changes

Your car’s steering system is malfunctioning if you make a quick turn and hear a whining sound coming from the wheel. Normally, this will take place whatever way the wheel is turned.

But the wailing might occasionally start until you crank the wheel a certain amount in a certain direction.

You can fairly presume that the noises are a result of problems with the steering knuckle, ball joints, and control arms, regardless of the sort of turning that causes them. If you’re not the type of person routinely examining them, problems with these parts often develop slowly over time.

Low Power Steering Fluid

Power steering fluid is responsible for lubricating and providing pressure to power steering systems as you turn the wheel. When it runs low, there may not be enough pressure to operate the power steering system effectively, causing noises to occur when turning the wheel.

In this case, simply refilling the power steering fluid reservoir may solve the noise problem.

Deteriorated Struts 

Struts are a component of your car that are crucial in ensuring that your vehicle’s stability is maintained when movement occurs. Your struts work to maintain a smooth ride when you turn, accelerate, brake, or do anything else that causes your automobile to be in motion.

Jounce bushing, a component that helps struts perform their duties appropriately, is located in the front strut. It needs lubrication to function correctly; otherwise, they get counterproductive and make a squeaking sound as you turn the wheel.

Taking care of this problem right now is advisable because the squeaking will only worsen over time if you wait.

Worn Out Power Steering Belt

The power steering belt is another component that may cause noise. Over time, the belt may become worn or loose, resulting in a squealing or whirring sound. If this is the cause of the noise, the belt may need to be adjusted or replaced altogether.

Damaged Power Steering Pump

If the power steering pump is damaged, it may also make noise when turning the steering wheel. The pump is responsible for providing hydraulic power to the steering system, so when it’s not working properly, you may hear a grinding or whining noise.

This may require a replacement of the power steering pump, which a qualified mechanic should do.

Faulty Steering Gear

The steering gear is a critical component that allows you to turn the wheels while driving. Over time, it may become worn or damaged, leading to the development of strange noises.

If you hear a clunking or knocking noise when turning the steering wheel, it may indicate a problem with the steering gear. It’s recommended to have a mechanic inspect your vehicle to identify the exact cause of the noise.

Leaking Power Steering Fluid 

Although it’s one of the less likely scenarios on this list, your steering wheel may produce noise when rotating if your power steering fluid leaks. The simplest way to find this kind of leak is to look underneath your car and see if there are any greasy marks on the ground, in addition to the sound your wheel will make when you turn it.

If no spots are visible, but you are still concerned that your car is leaking fluid, move the steering wheel and watch how it responds. Another telling sign that anything is wrong with the power steering system is if the steering is difficult and jerky.

Steps to Diagnose Such Steering Wheel Sounds

Step 1: Identify The Type of Steering Sound You’re Hearing

There are several possible sounds your car’s steering could be making, including whining, creaking, grinding or clicking sounds. Try to pinpoint the specific sound, as it can provide valuable clues about the possible cause of the problem.

Step 2: Check The Power Steering Fluid Level

If you hear a whining noise from the steering wheel, the power steering fluid may be low. Check the reservoir under the hood and refill it if necessary. Be sure to use the type of power steering fluid recommended in the car’s owner’s manual.

Step 3: Inspect The Steering System Components

If no problems were found with the power steering fluid, the next step is thoroughly inspecting the steering system components. Check the power steering pump, belts, hoses, and pulleys for signs of wear or damage.

Step 4: Look For Loose or Worn Steering Components

If the noise is a creaking, clunking, or knocking sound, it may be a sign of loose or worn steering components. Inspect the tie rods, ball joints, struts, and other suspension parts for signs of wear or looseness.

Step 5: Take The Vehicle For A Test Drive

If you still need help identifying the problem, take the car for a test drive. Pay attention to the steering system’s behaviour, especially when going over bumps or making turns. Note any additional symptoms like vibration, pull, or uneven tire wear. This information can be helpful when consulting with a mechanic.

The Bottom Line 

When turning the steering wheel, noise can be alarming, but it’s not always a cause for concern. Low power steering fluid, worn-out power steering belts or damaged power steering pumps may all cause noise when turning the wheel.

If you are experiencing strange sounds, it’s essential to have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic to identify the exact cause and prevent any potential safety issues.