You may hear many kinds of noises when you turn the car. And depending on what kind of noise the car is making, you can tell what could be broken or just needs your attention

If your car is under perfect maintenance condition then you should not hear any noise when you turn your car. It should be smooth, balanced, and without any significant roll. The steering system of a car is an engineering feat with many complex parts. If there is a problem in the steering system you will first notice it while making a turn by hearing some abnormal noises. 

List Of Noises Your Car Can Make When Turning

Here are some of the types of noises and their possible causes that you might hear if there is a problem with your car:

Screeching Or Squealing Noise

This is the most common noise you’ll hear from a car that is turning. The tires of your car are in direct contact with the road and the tire tread provides the car sufficient traction to stay on track even while turning at high speed. 

Tires may start to lose traction as they wear out and are more likely to squeal and slip from the road slightly. Worn out tires are dangerous, unsafe, and prone to accidents. They must be replaced as soon as they become bad and you start to hear the squealing and screeching sound while turning. 

If your tires are new but make a squealing noise that is an indication that the tires have irregular wear, misalignment wheels, or poorly balanced wheels. In that case, make sure to get those wheels inspected.

The squealing sound may also be due to the following faults

  • Serpentine Belt: If the squealing sounds increase when turning corners with speed, the engine belt may be worn out or damaged. 
  • A Faulty Wheel Bearing: Worn out or damaged bearings or axles may make a squealing sound. Although bearings should last the car’s lifetime, they are still prone to failure and can cause such noises. Bearings may also make a grinding sound and increase vibration in the car.
  • Dry steering/suspension element: If the steering and/or suspension elements need lubrication, they may make a squealing noise when turning corners. The components that may contribute to the noise include tie-rod ends, ball joints, seals, bushings, and bearings.
  • Worn out brakes: if your brake pads are worn out they will make a squealing sound. This is a result of metal to metal friction in the brake drum/disc.
  • Low power steering fluid: If the power steering fluid is low or leaking you may hear a squealing sound while turning. Check for leakage, and if it is present, fix it. The steering fluid reservoir also has a filter; if that filter gets clogged then turning will become noisy too.

Whining Noise

The whining noise will be most noticeable when you are driving at low speeds. Your car’s steering rack may have some malfunction of the belt or the vane pump.

Normally when driving you are constantly holding the steering wheel and making minor directions adjustments, this constant action slowly degrades the steering rack system.

You may also experience extra resistance when trying to turn when it’s colder compared to when your car has been running for a couple of minutes and became hot, this indicates a worn-out steering rack

More About Steering: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steering

Crunching Noise

The ball joints are the critical connection between the wheel hubs and the rest of the suspension system. If the ball joint goes bad you will hear a crunching noise when turning the wheel, especially at low speeds.

You will also feel the steering wheel shaking a little. If you do not fix this problem the sound will become more noticeable and louder. 

This happens when the ball joint becomes dry over time and the lubrication has evaporated to the extent that there is metal to metal grinding. 

The front strut has a bushing that is called a jounce bushing. If this bushing becomes dry, then when you turn your car it will also make creaking sounds. 

The creaking sound may be coming from pumps, belts, and other car parts that may have been worn, causing those sounds. In all cases, the steering rack should be inspected and repaired if necessary.

More About Ball Joints: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball_joint

Thuds And Groans 

The struts and shocks of the suspension system are quite rugged components of your car as they have to endure all the smooth and rough roads and tracks.

They are built to last the lifetime of your car but depending on your usage they may wear down and need to be repaired or even replaced. 

When you take a turn or when you pass over a rough road and your car makes a noise apparently coming from the shocks then there is a good chance that they have worn out and are failing. The car will be handling the turns rather poorly.

As they get worse and worse the quality of your ride will deteriorate noticeably, your tires will wear out prematurely, unevenly and the car will become difficult to handle on a bumpy road.

On inspection of the struts and shocks, you may find shock fluid leaking down their sides. If the situation has reached that stage then you should get the shocks and struts repaired or preferably replaced. 

More About Struts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strut

More About Shock Absorbers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shock_absorber

Clunking, Rattling, Knocking Noises

The upper strut mount bearings are an integral part of your car’s suspension system as they connect the struts with the body of the car.

When you turn using the steering wheel, the bearings on the axle make the struts turn the wheels ensuring precise turning.

The strut bearings also dampen the noise and vibrations from the suspension so that they are not passed to the body of the car.

When you hear clunking, rattling, and popping noise when turning your car or on rough roads then it can indicate a bad strut bearing.

These strut mount bearings are quite rugged and they are designed to last the lifetime of the car. However, bad driving rough roads and continuous overloading your car with high loads and extreme weather conditions such as frost, rain, snow, and temperature can reduce their life span. 

In such a case it will be harder to turn the steering wheel, making tasks such as parking more difficult.

Bad strut mount bearings affect your car in many other ways such as increasing braking distances, reduced driving, and steering capabilities, extra wear and tear on tires, and increased wear of the shock absorbers.

The noise may be coming from the tie rod. Tie rods are responsible for changing the direction of the front wheels. 

a broken or loose tie rod will create all sorts of clunking and knocking sounds. This will be obvious at low speeds and a sharp turning radius. 

You may also hear engine knock when you have a poor quality of gasoline, untuned engine, or the plugs are not clean or worn out.

Clanking Noise

The sway bar link is a system installed in your car to reduce body roll when turning. It is a way to stabilize the car, prevent rolling over and keep its occupants comfortable and safe even while you turn the car at high speed.

But if the sway link bar is damaged or broken then the car will not handle right. The car will be unstable and more difficult to drive. It is not safe to drive the car in this condition.

If you suspect that the sway bar link is damaged or broken then go to a qualified mechanic immediately.

Rubbing Noise

If you turn your steering wheel and it makes a rubbing noise, then it is likely the upper bearing on the steering wheel to blame.

You can notice this noise more in the hot seasons as the parts expand and the plastic on the back of the steering wheel rubs against the cowling on the steering column.

Other symptoms include:

  • The steering tilt function does not lock.
  • Steering wheel operating roughly.
  • Doesn’t return to the normal position after a turn.

You may have damaged suspension bushings. These are made of rubber, polyurethane, or other materials to provide a cushion against shock and vibrations.

These bushings are mounted on car suspension and other joints to absorb road shocks and vibrations.

Although they are made of very robust material, they still over time deteriorate, crack, break, and fail to perform their purpose.

When these bushes wear off, the car will make typical rubbing sounds when it jumps over road bumps. 

These bushings are not expensive and are easy to install. They should be replaced as soon as you discover their loss. Normally you should be aware of their loss by the rubbing noise you hear.

More About Bushings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushing_(isolator)

Creaking Noise 

Control arms are metallic pieces that allow wheels to move up and down while keeping them in their place.

The bushings are made of a double inner and outer metallic sleeve with some flexible rubber or polyurethane bushing.

These bushings also provide for a safe and comfortable drive which prevents forward and backward movement of the wheel. 

If these bushings have failed then you will hear a creaking sound. These bushings should also be inspected during routine maintenance and replaced if found broken or cracked.

Find a Good Mechanic

Once you take your car to the mechanic explain to him clearly the kind of abnormal noises you are hearing. A test drive with him would be even better.

The problem will be easily diagnosed by a good mechanic and repaired efficiently. An abnormal noise may be trivial but sometimes it may be an indication of something serious, so when you hear some abnormal noise, take the car to the mechanic at the earliest, to avoid any further complication.