Any noises a car makes should be concerning to the driver. Mainly, the driver should be worried since the squeaking part might cause a malfunction when driving, causing an accident.
And among the squeaking noises that can cause worries is when turning the vehicle. The fact that vehicle steering is related to the squeaking noise requires immediate fixing.
However, to fix it, you must be aware of the causes. But what are they? Read on to learn the possible causes of the squeaking noise when turning the vehicle and how to fix it.
What Causes Squeaking Noise When Turning at Low Speeds?
Various things can be responsible for the vehicle squeaking when the driver turns it at a low speed. Power steering is among the culprits, as well as low lubrication. The vehicle’s suspensions or friction with other parts may also be responsible.
And these problems may only be present when turning at a low speed. For example, when driving into your driveway or a parking spot.
The following list contains the causes and the solutions to the squeaking noises.
Power Steering Problems
The Powers steering system has been in use since 1951 and is a device that reduces the driver’s steering efforts when turning. If the vehicle squeaks when turning it, the fluid level on the steering wheel is one thing to check.
With time the fluid level reduces. And if not refilled during maintenance, it may cause difficulty when turning and make squeaking noises. Leaks can also cause low fluid levels in the system and squeaking problems.
Besides, the steering wheel belt is also responsible for the squeaking noises. The belt may wear with time and can even snap if not fixed.
Most power steering problems require a professional to diagnose and fix them. However, you can refill the steering fluid without needing a professional, but only after confirming there are no leaks.
Friction with Parts
If the vehicle has issues when manufactured or the driver has installed larger aftermarket tires, the squeaking noise may be present. The wheels may be rubbing on the parts near them, especially when turning, causing the squeaks.
Also, the wheel fasteners may be loose on the wheel, causing misalignment and noises.
If you haven’t added aftermarket modifications, you should get the vehicle checked at the dealership.
Faulty Tie Rod
The tie rods are responsible for turning the wheel as they’re connected to the steering system. And the bearings in the joints are lubricated with a thick grease to minimize tear.
However, due to damages, the grease may leak. The bearings at the ends of the tie rod can be exposed to friction by grinding on each other, and that will cause wear and tear. Thus, because of worn-out and unlubricated situations, the tie rod may squeak every time the steering wheel turns.
The tie rods should be diagnosed and fixed by a professional, who should re-apply the thick grease.
Worn Out Suspensions
Suspensions are heavily involved in various vehicle operations, including turning. Therefore, they’re prone to wear and tear, which may cause a squeaking sound when the vehicle turns,
The Control arms and ball joints are among the components of the suspension used heavily. Get these parts and the vehicle’s suspension diagnosed to fix the problems.
Unlubricated Wheel Bearings
The wheel bearings can also be responsible for the squeaking if they lose lubrication. The noises seem to get louder and more noticeable when turning the vehicle in a direction since more pressure is on them.
Debris may also cause the bearings to become noisy generally. With an expected lifespan between 10-15 years, if the bearings are still within the mileage, they shouldn’t squeak.
You can use a suitable wheel bearing grease (our pick) to keep the parts from grinding with each other and wearing. You can also get a professional to check and repair them for you.
Constant Velocity Joints Problems
The CV joints can also cause squeaking noises when driving at a low speed. They’re connected to the vehicle’s transmission, where they help transfer power from the engine to the wheels. The boot of the CV joint is filled with grease that protects it against wear.
If the grease leaks out, the CV joint can make squeaking noises when the wheels turn.
Also, if CV joint problems are not repaired soon, they can break, causing costly repairs. So, once the vehicle makes it over 300,000 miles, you should expect to replace this part.
How to Diagnose Squeaking Noises When Turning at Low Speeds
Professional mechanics should handle most diagnoses of the squeaking problem. However, if you’re confident enough, you can check various things to determine the exact cause of your squeaking problem.
Some of the clues include;
- Check for fluid leaks below the vehicle to know if there is a fluid leak from your power steering system
- Observe the color of your power steering fluid, which should be bright red, and if it is darker, replace it
- The wheel bearings may be responsible if the noises increase and decrease with the vehicle’s speed
- Investigate the joints on the tie rod to see whether the rubber boots surrounding the ball joints are still on
- Observe for Vibrations when turning or driving slowly, which can point to a bad CV joint
- Check for any loose parts around the wheel that might be grinding on the wheel when the vehicle turns hard
- Damaged ball joints can cause jerking and shuddering when turning and uneven tire wear. Observe these signs, and if present, get the ball joints fixed
- Refill the power steering fluid through the fluid reservoir under the hood to check if it’s the cause
Preventing Squeaking Noises Problems
Undertaking certain actions can be helpful to prevent squeaking noises problems, and that includes,
Do Maintenances On Time
Vehicle maintenance should be annual or every six months to ensure better performance. By regular maintenance, the mechanics may be able to spot any developing wheel problem and prevent it.
Avoid hard Turns
Hard turns, especially at high speeds, cause more pressure on the wheel and may cause it to misalign. A misaligned wheel may squeak, which you can avoid by turning slowly.
Avoid Hard Brakes
Hard brakes may save you in case of an emergency by immediately stopping the vehicle. However, if regularly used, it can cause uneven wear on the wheels, which may cause squealing after some time.
Avoid Speeding When Off-road
Some parts, like the suspension and the tie rods, can easily be damaged by rough off-road driving. The parts can wear out quicker, causing problems like squeaking when turning. Avoid speeding off-road unless your vehicle is fit for it to avoid further damage.
Check out the following questions on squeaking sounds when turning problems, along with the answers.
Is It Safe to Drive a Vehicle That Squeaks When Turning at a Low Speed?
No. Driving a vehicle that squeaks when turning for long without getting it fixed is discouraged. The problem might be on its last face and cause a malfunction that may cause an accident.
What is the Cost of Repairing a Vehicle That Squeaks When Turning at a Low Speed
Inspecting a vehicle with a squeaking problem can start as low as $100 – $500, depending on the mechanic. The repair cost will vary with the failing part and can range between $70 – $1,000.
Can Tire Pressure Cause the Vehicle to Squeak When Turning at Low Speed?
Yes, tire pressure can cause squeaking when the vehicle turns at a low speed. However, when the tire is responsible, the vehicle might also squeak when driving straight on uneven terrain.
Noise in the vehicle can be unnerving as well as dangerous. Therefore, diagnoses and repairs should be made as soon as possible to avoid further damage. With the provided list of possible causes, you can attempt to diagnose the problems.
However, repairs should be left to professionals to prevent more damage to other parts. Improving your driving habits, like avoiding speed when turning, can help prevent squeaks. Regular maintenance is, however, the best prevention measure, not only for the wheels but the whole car.