How to React if Your Car Makes Noise When Turning
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There are a variety of concerning sounds that a car might make when turning. Take note of what sounds your car makes so you can properly identify the problem.
While it is true drivers should promptly attend to mechanical issues, it does nobody any good to panic when they arise.
Cars sometimes signal problems through noises like vibrations, sounds when accelerating, and noises when turning.
If your car makes noise when turning, there are many potential causes. The best thing you can do is describe the issue to a mechanic. Simply saying “my car makes a weird noise” won’t help a professional diagnose the issue. Be specific in your description of the volume and type of noise, and also note if it happens when turning in either direction or just in one.
If your car whines when turning
A whining noise when turning usually originates from the power steering pump. There may be no problem at all or you may need to replace the pump. This depends on if there is noise before or after you have turned the wheels all the way.
If there is whining only after your wheels are fully turned, you are simply causing the pump to work harder than normal. If it whines before the wheels fully turn, the power steering pump is likely failing and needs to be replaced.
Get help from a friend. Ask your friend to watch your wheels from outside of your car as you turn them and tell you when they have fully turned.
Start your vehicle. When you do this, make sure it is in park.
Turn the wheel and listen. Turn the wheel in both directions, noting when you hear the whining noise.
Key Takeaway: To diagnose this issue, get someone to tell you when your car wheels are fully turned, then start the car from park and turn the wheel both ways. Your steering pump may need replacing if you hear whining when the wheels aren’t fully turned.
If your car is clicking when turning
If you hear clicking or clunking that seems to originate from the steering wheel, there may be a problem with the front suspension or steering linkage. The bushings or joints are other possible culprits. Regardless of the specific cause, make plans to visit a mechanic after completing the following steps to best describe the issue.
Park in a safe place. Make sure you are in a parked position away from traffic and with the engine off.
Turn the steering wheel and listen. Wiggle the wheel back and forth, taking note of how much you can move it without feeling resistance from the wheels turning. Also, listen for the clicking or clunking to occur as you wiggle, so you can tell a mechanic.
If your car is crunching or popping when turning
When a car makes crunching and popping sounds when turning, it could indicate a problem with the wheels and axles.
Crunching or popping originating from around the wheels or axles may indicate a serious issue in need of quick attention. This often indicates a bad CV joint, and it is dangerous to allow this issue to go unchecked. Plan for mechanical attention after you complete the following diagnostic steps.
Locate a roomy place. Find a wide empty space or parking lot with little to no traffic.
Drive in a tight circle. Turn the wheel sharply to one side and hold it in position as you gently accelerate.
Then, do this in the opposite direction, noticing when you hear a crunching or popping noise and if it is worse at one time than in another.
Make wider circles. Do this in each direction and listen carefully, so you can tell a mechanic what you heard. Hearing the noise with wider turns indicates a more severe problem than with just sharps turns.
Key Takeaway: Crunching or popping when turning can indicate a dangerous bad CV joint around the wheels and axles. Hearing the sound on wide turns means more trouble than hearing it on sharp turns, so do test turns on an open area to check for both.
You can hasten the diagnostic process when you seek a mechanic’s assistance, by calmly checking the issue and describing it specifically and concisely. With fewer hours in labor, any repairs to fix the cause of noises while turning will be easier on your pocketbook.
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