Steering Wheel Makes Rubbing Noise When Turning: Real Fixes

If your steering wheel makes rubbing noise when turning, it can be alarming, especially if it’s happening for the first time. Several factors can cause this noise when turning your steering wheel. Issues with the top bearings of the steering wheel column are often the main culprit.

Steering Wheel Makes Rubbing Noise When Turning: Real Fixes

This article will discuss the common reasons why your steering makes a squeaking noise and how you can resolve the problem immediately.

Why Does Your Steering Wheel Make a Rubbing Noise When Turning?

Your steering wheel makes a rubbing noise when turning because it has a damaged steering rack. Fluid leaks and a clogged fluid reservoir can also cause it. To determine the specific cause of the problem, you may need to ask advice from a professional mechanic.

– Damaged Power Steering Rack

A damaged steering rack is the most common cause of a squeaking noise when your turn your steering. A steering rack aids the movement of your wheels whenever you turn your steering. Any damage to this essential component can cause your steering to squeak when you turn.

The most common causes of a damaged rack include contaminated fluids, worn seals, defective steering pumps, and loose connections. Aside from this, you may also notice that your steering becomes loose and has numb spots. A burning smell and fluid leaks are common symptoms of a damaged rack.

– Worn or Damaged Struts/Shocks

Struts and shocks are essential suspension components that help keep your vehicle stable when you drive. They are another common reason your steering makes a squeaking sound when you turn. Like most vehicle parts, struts or shocks can give way to natural wear, especially if you often drive on bad road surfaces. They can also suffer damage if you have bad driving habits or a loose strut assembly.

Aside from a squeaking sound, a sign of a worn or damaged strut/shock is a shaky or unstable ride, especially when you go at high speeds. Other symptoms include fluid leakage, stiff steering, and uneven tire wear.

– Worn Out or Bad Ball Joints

Having worn-out ball joints can lead to serious problems with your steering. These components connect the suspension control arms to the steering knuckles for easy wheel movements. Like other parts, these need regular lubrication, or they may not function as they should. A lack of lubrication can cause these joints to overwork themselves, increasing the chances of wear occurring.

In this case, you will notice your car making noisy sounds, often in the form of a squeaking sound, whenever you turn the steering. You will also detect that your steering feels too loose when turning it. Another obvious sign is excessive cabin vibration whenever you drive.

– Worn Jounce Bushings

Your steering wheel will likely squeak when you turn due to worn bushings. All front struts have a jounce bushing, which cushions against vibrations and bumps. Since these aid your wheel movement, they need regular lubrication to work. A lack of this will result in wear.

When this happens, your vehicle makes a groaning or creaking noise whenever you drive. You will experience more creaking if you leave it unchecked, especially when you make turns.

– Damaged Steering Shaft Joint

A steering shaft connects your steering gears to the upper steering column for simultaneous rotation and flexing. Although the steering shaft may give way to natural wear and tear, other factors can lead to its damage. The most common is a broken seal, which causes fluid to leak from the needle bearings.

When the needle bearings are dry, it is easy for corrosion to happen due to contact with moisture. If the bearings are heavily corroded, it can cause severe damage to the steering shaft. When this happens, it may not function well or stop working.

– Defective Tie Rods

If your steering makes squeaking noises when turning, you may be dealing with defective or bad tie rod ends. These are an essential part of your steering system; they connect your steering knuckle to your steering gear. There are several causes of damage to these rods, and one is natural wear and tear. Rough driving or bumpy road surfaces can also cause your rod to fail.

Causes of Steering Wheel Make a Rubbing Noise When Turning

If these have any damage, you’ll notice excessive vibration from your car. You may also notice your car makes a clunking or grinding noise. Difficulty with steering and a misaligned front end are common symptoms you should watch out for.

– Damaged Steering Column Bearing

Steering column bearings play a vital role in the column system because they allow more accurate steering whenever you drive. If the upper bearing of the column is damaged, it can cause your steering to make noise.

Heat causes the upper bearing to expand until the plastic at the back of your steering wheel starts to run against the column. At this point, you’ll start to notice a strange noise whenever you turn your steering.

– Power Steering Fluid Leaks

Power steering fluid leaks are a major cause of the steering wheel noise you hear when you make a turn. A pump supplies the right amount of fluid and pressure to your steering system for easy rotation.

Reasons of Power Steering Fluid Leaks

With a damaged steering pump, it becomes difficult to turn your steering.

When your steering lacks fluid or pressure, the first symptom is a rubbing or whining noise. You will also notice a pool of reddish fluid under your car.

– Clogged Power Steering Fluid Reservoir

All vehicles need a reservoir for power steering fluid. The fluid is important for easy steering operation. The reservoir has a filter that keeps dirt and contaminants from mixing with the fluid. However, a lack of maintenance can lead to grime and dirt buildup clogging the filter.

A clogged reservoir filter hampers the right amount of fluid supply to important parts of the steering system. In turn, your steering will start to make noises when you make a turn.

– Malfunctioning Control Arm Bushings

The control arm bushings protect against metal-to-metal contacts when the control arm moves along the wheels. Car crashes, forceful impacts, bumpy roads, and natural wear can cause the arm to get worn or malfunction.

In this case, you will detect strange noises from your steering when you drive. You may also notice that your car vibrates too much, and your steering becomes slow to respond.

How To Fix the Rubbing Noise in the Steering Wheel When Turning?

To fix the rubbing noise in the steering wheel when turning, you can try replacing the damaged rack to eliminate the noise. Replacing all worn or damaged suspension components can also fix this problem. Proper and regular lubrication acts as a quick fix as well.

– Replace Damaged Rack

The first step in solving the issue of rubbing noises is to replace your damaged rack. However, you should inspect the rack for visible damage before carrying out a replacement. Ensure that there are no loose connections; you should tighten them if you notice any.

Likewise, check that your fluid isn’t low or worn out; if it is, you should replace it immediately.If your rack refuses to work after doing this, you can consult a professional mechanic for a possible replacement.

– Replace Worn or Damaged Suspension Components

The biggest cause of a steering making squeaking noises is failures in the suspension system. The struts/shocks are components of a suspension system. If they’re not working well, you should lubricate them or carry out an immediate replacement. Likewise, lubricate the jounce and arm bushings to avoid quick wear or damage.

Fixing Rubbing Noise in Steering Wheel When Turning


Also, pay attention to your shaft to ensure you lubricate it; if damaged, you should replace it soon enough. If, after replacing these parts, your steering is still noisy, check your CV joint. Known as the constant velocity joint, this connects your car’s transmission to your wheels. The constant velocity joint may need replacement if they’re defective or damaged.

You may also need to inspect your wheel bearings and ensure they’re not the culprit. Your steering should work once you replace all worn or damaged suspension components. You’ll be glad to know the replacement cost of most of these components is quite low.

– Repair Broken Seals

Broken seals are a common cause of leakage. If you have a broken seal, replace it immediately. Replacing a broken seal can be easy if you have experience in car repairs. But to avoid causing further damage or complications to your vehicle’s parts, it’s better to consult a professional mechanic. They are more likely to do an extensive diagnosis and fix the seal without complications.

– Ensure Proper Lubrication

One of the best ways to correct and prevent steering-related issues is to keep your steering gears lubricated. Check to see that your fluid level isn’t low. If it is, you should top it off to the required amount. Also, dirty fluid can affect the performance of your steering.

Hence, it would help to replace worn-out steering fluid with a new one for optimal performance. Aside from these, you want to ensure you use only the specified fluid for your vehicle. Also, make sure it is of high quality and recommended by a professional mechanic.

– Clean Reservoir Filter

You can also fix the problem of your steering making noise by cleaning your reservoir filter. Since these filters can get clogged from dust, grime, and other contaminants, you should do regular cleaning. Cleaning the reservoir filter and the reservoir itself is quite simple. First, locate the reservoir and remove the hoses around it.

Place a drain pan under the reservoir and unscrew the bolts holding it. Next, check the reservoir for signs of damage; if there are none, spray some cleaner inside it. Leave it to dry for 30 to 45 minutes, then reinstall the hoses and bolts. Afterward, you should top your reservoir with the right amount of fluid.

– Carry Out Regular Checks and Maintenance

Finally, regular checks and maintenance are important after you must have carried out the necessary repairs. Inspecting and regular servicing will prevent your steering from making future squeaking sounds.

It will also prevent unforeseen problems that may affect your vehicle’s performance. Make sure you carry out regular checks and maintenance every two to four months to ensure your car is in the best working condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

– Is It Dangerous To Drive a Vehicle With Rubbing Noise?

Yes, it is dangerous to drive a vehicle with rubbing noise. Such sounds indicate a problem with your steering wheel. Depending on the problem’s severity, you may lose moderate to serious control of your steering, resulting in a car crash or other accident.

To prevent rubbing noises, you can fix or replace all worn or damaged suspension and steering components. You can also lubricate your car and perform routine servicing to prevent your steering from making this noise.

– Why Does the Steering Wheel of Your Vehicle Grind When You Turn?

The steering wheel of your vehicle grinds when you turn it because your suspension is bad. It can also be due to a damaged CV joint or shaft or, in some cases, stones lodged in the steering gear. A thorough check up of your vehicle will be needed.

What other noises should you be aware of when it come to bad steering wheels? Bad steerings make creaking, groaning, or squeaking noises. Aside from these, you may also notice whining, sputtering, clunking, or grinding noises.

You may also detect a clicking or thumping sound in other instances. These noises indicate a problem with your car that may need urgent attention.

Another important thing to note is that driving at a low speed produces the rubbing sound from the steering. If the sound only comes on at low speed, it indicates a problem with your suspension or pump.

Steering Wheel Makes Rubbing Noise When Turning Conclusion


If your steering makes a strange noise when you turn, there are several reasons for this.

Here’s a quick summary of the key points we’ve discussed in this article:

  • Your steering wheel makes rubbing noise when turning because of several damaged suspensions or steering components. It could also be that your steering gears and parts aren’t well lubricated.
  • You can fix the noise problem by repairing your broken seals and proper lubrication. Cleaning your reservoir filter and carrying out routine checks can also work.
  • It is important to consult a professional mechanic before carrying out repairs.

You can fix the problem only when you identify the actual cause. Fortunately, this article provides the essential information you need to do this with great success.

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