While cars can make some noises naturally, it's not always a good sign when your vehicle makes noise, especially when turning one direction or another.
So what's the cause? What do you do about your vehicle making an odd sound when turning one way, but not the other?
A car noise when turning in a particular direction is a symptom of a problem with your suspension or parts related to turning. These are often caused by wear within the tie rods, CV joint, suspension, or wheel bearings.
What should you do about an odd noise in your vehicle? Is it safe to drive? Can you fix it in your garage? Can problems like these get worse?
We'll answer these questions and more. We've worked with cars for a long time and have excellent sources for the purpose. We'll breakdown what is probably happening and what to do about the issue.
Table of Contents
What causes vehicle noise while turning?
Unfortunately, noise while steering isn't a good sign. Let's review the various parts of your vehicle that can make some noise as a sign of wear or need replacement.
The tie rod connects your steering gears to the steering knuckle using a ball in socket. This is a technical way of saying that the tie rod provides a very important link between your suspension and wheel. The tie rod probably won't be very loud and has symptoms more related to shakiness and vibrations, but it can certainly be a part of the noise in your vehicle while turning.
If a mechanic tells you to replace your tie rod, please listen. Ever seen a disabled vehicle with a wheel that didn't look quite right? The tie rod is probably broken. This can be dangerous as high speeds because you'll suddenly lose the ability to steer, and the vehicle will travel in whatever direction the broken lineage allows it. Not a fun experience on the highway!
The CV Joint – or constant velocity joint, connects your vehicle's transmission to your wheels. The CV joint is flexible and can be angled, but ultimately controls the power being sent. This part can make a popping or clicking noise when accelerating and potentially while turning. The wear comes from the outer CV joint which has a boot that can wear out from weather and repeat wear.
Wheel bearings have one of the strongest indicators of wear with noise, as well as with a lower ride quality. The wheel bearings are a set of steel balls within a ring that help wheels rotate with low friction – they are one of the parts that enable a smooth driving experience.
The bearings support your vehicle's weight while the vehicle is being driven are can wear out as a result.
What do they sound like? Wheel bearings can make a variety of noises – including squeaking while turning, growling, or grinding. The bigger tell tale sign is that the sound will become louder and more prominent the faster you go and the harder you turn.
Shocks and struts
The shocks and struts that offer a smooth ride can also begin to fail. The sounds of the springs and coils that provide on the fly adjustment can make a squeaking noise that occurs only when turning.
If the problem sounds more like it is coming from almost inside the car – or at least not below it, it might actually be the steering column. The linkages within can make some sound – and if you hear it right after or as you turn the wheel, this might be the case. The steering column also makes it less likely that you are having a suspension or ride quality issue.
Low Power Steering Fluid
Low power steering fluid can result in a difficult turn, and excess air arriving in the steering column. This is more likely sound like a groan – though the first sign here is more likely a lack of good responsiveness from the steering wheel. Check under the hood for your power steering fluid reservoir. Also, keep in mind that lower power steering likely means a leak, so you'll have a fix to make regardless.
Broken steering pump
The steering pump helps push the power steering fluid around. You'll hear a whine or grind from the engine bay rather than from the underside of the vehicle when this part is failing.
Why on one side and not the other?
You'll have each of the above parts for both sides of your vehicle. It is possible for you to experience extra wear on one side or the other due to defects or simple wear and tear over time.
How do I fix my vehicle making a sound when turning?
The easy answer is to either learn to six your own suspension, bearings, or tie rod or have a mechanic do it. Unless your vehicle is being very loud or is not driving as normal, you might also be able to drive the car into a mechanic's garage yourself without having to tow it. We suggest towing either if the vehicle doesn't feel safe to drive, or if you have free towing with your auto insurance – it's a great value, really.
Can my tires make a sound while turning?
They could. Underinflated tires can make an obvious flapping sound, but you are also more likely to feel the vehicle vibrating or fulling in one direction than just while turning.
How soon should I get this taken care of?
As soon as you can! Issues related to turning and steering don't tend to fix themselves. In addition, having one part wearing out will likely lead to other parts wearing out – making the problem more expensive in the long run. Steering problems are also a bit more dangerous than average because you could have a failure while driving, which both causes a potential loss of control or a sudden, hard stop.
Can I fix these problems in my garage?
The suspension tends to be easier to work in, in part because the parts are largely exposed. You might just want the ability to lift your vehicle or a small pad to lay in to get low. You could also consider getting an alignment in a place with a computerized method once you have a new part installed.. Part of the challenge will be identifying exactly which parts are going bad. We recommend watching a video or reading instructions regarding what to look for, ranging from poorly placed bolts to leaks or corrosion that might make it clear you need to replace something.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding