Why Does My Car Make A Clicking Sound When Turning Steering Wheel?

If you hear a clicking sound when turning steering wheel, it could be symptomatic of a problem with your car’s CV joints. Let us discuss clicking, grinding, clunking, whining and all other sorts of noises in your steering wheel in the article below.

If your car is making a noise when you turn the steering wheel, then there is a problem in your steering mechanism or your car. The front part of the car carries the engine. It has multiple systems and mechanisms due to which the car functions efficiently. 

Due to the complex system and multiple aspects of the vehicle, it becomes difficult to understand why your car is making noise when turning the steering wheel

To understand more about it, let’s think about the sound coming out of the car. Is it a grinding, crunch, squeal, popping, whining, or clunk sound? In this article, we have mentioned why a car makes such noises. Let’s talk about them one by one.

You might like to read: Clunking Noise When In A 4 Wheel Drive – What Does it Mean?

What Causes A Clicking Or Grinding Noise When Turning The Steering Wheel? 

All front wheel drive cars have Constant Velocity Joints (CV joints) in the front.  CV joints connect the engine’s transmission to the wheels. This joint is responsible for transferring the engine’s power to the wheels and ensuring that the wheels move at a constant velocity.

CV joints are very hardy. They are connected to the wheel with a strong plastic or rubber boot, that contains grease in it and are sealed tightly. As long as the boot remains intact, CV joints can last for a very long time.

The problem begins when your CV joint’s boot breaks due to an impact, or due to normal wear and tear. If this happens, your CV joint becomes exposed. 

When this happens, a grinding and clicking sound comes out of the vehicle while turning the steering wheel. If you listen to clicking or grinding sounds from your car, it is always due to a worn out CV joint present in the vehicle. 

You might like to read: Popping Noise When Backing Up And Turning Wheel – What Does it Mean?

4 Types of Noises, And Why Your Steering Wheel Assembly Might Be Making Them 

#1 Whining Noise When Turning Steering Wheel: The steering rack is not proper 

If you listen to any whining sound when turning your steering wheel, this could be because of a damaged steering rack.

You will listen to this sound when driving at a minimum speed. A Vane pump and a bad belt can also be the two prominent reasons you listen to these noises. 

Why Does My Car Make A Clicking Sound When Turning Steering Wheel

#2 Popping Sound When Turning Steering Wheel: Damaged steering column bearing 

If you can hear a popping noise when turning steering wheel, then the reason behind this can be the upper bearing present in the steering column.

The steering column consists of plastic on the back of the steering. When the cowling and plastic rub against each other, it leads to loud rubbing noise. You will notice this when the temperature rises. 

#3 Creaking Sound: Broken tie rod ends 

Due to the tie rods, the steering wheel moves smoothly in a circular direction. When the tie rod gets damaged, a knocking and creaking sound leads. This commonly happens when you move the steering at a very low speed. 

You might like to read: Rubbing Noise From Rear Wheel When Driving

#4 Faint Clunking Noise: Worn Out Ball joints 

Control arms and steering knuckles move properly due to ball joints. These joints shouldn’t be dry, they need continuous lubrication so that they don’t turn up to be dry. 

If they become dry, you will hear a faint, clunking noise coming out of them due to the bad condition of the ball joints. You will always notice that the Steering wheel shakes continuously. 

Why Does My Car Make A Clicking Sound When Turning Steering Wheel

4 Other Problems With Steering Wheels

#1 Vibrating steering wheel

The steering wheel has the absolute power to take your car in the correct direction and move smoothly down the road. If your Steering Wheel begins to vibrate, the reason related to this can be either you are moving or breaking. 

If you are driving your vehicle at a very minimal speed from 20 to 30 MPH and your steering wheel begins to vibrate, then it’s high time you need to check out your tires. The tires of your vehicle may be worn out or imbalanced. You may sense the vibrations while braking. 

Friction is required for your vehicle to stop during braking. Due to this, a huge amount of heat is created. If the rotors are heated and cooled down completely, it can result in warping. Due to this, the heat isn’t dissipated adequately. If this happens, you need to understand that your brake rotors are warped.

#2 Difficulty in moving the steering

Power steering is a widely popular option that is preferred nowadays. It can quickly turn the wheel with the help of electric or hydraulic pressure. It helps the driver to a great extent. Due to the loss of hydraulic pressure in a steering rack, it becomes challenging to whirl the steering wheel

Heat build-up can also be a prominent reason you cannot turn the steering wheel. You may notice the following aspects: grinding sounds, burning oil odor, and power steering fluid leaks when you cannot turn the steering wheel. 

You might like to read: Why Does Wheel Bearing Noise Goes Away When Turning Left?

#3 The steering wheel pulls in different directions 

When you cannot develop a command over your steering wheel to keep your vehicle in a straight line, there could be a few reasons behind this problem. One of the most predominant reasons is that your car isn’t in proper alignment. 

When a vehicle is not correctly aligned, all the car tires are not in line for smooth contact with the road. It may happen if your car has passed through potholes. You may notice that your vehicle’s tire is abnormal because of the poor alignment. This can cause the tires to be worn out.

If the quality of your tires is not good or defective, it can result in pulling to the left or right. You can detect whether the quality of your tire is good or not as metal strips of the tires arise out of them if they are defective. 

You can try to replace all the tires of your vehicle at once as it can enhance your efficiency, and you can easily smoothly handle your car on the road. 

Why Does My Car Make A Clicking Sound When Turning Steering Wheel

#4 Stiff Steering Wheel

The fluid levels in the power steering system should be appropriate for turning it. These steering systems are hydraulic. If this power steering consists of less fluid, it doesn’t produce enough pressure to turn the steering smoothly. 

However, the power steering fluid levels may be appropriate if the belt is damaged or loose. Another reason your steering wheel becomes stiff while rotating is that the steering rack is faulty or when the pump has failed. 

You might like to read: 6 Things To Do When You Hear A Noise When Turning Steering Wheel At Low Speed

Why Does My Car Make A Scraping Noise When I Turn The Steering Wheel?

Plastic shields are present inside your car to provide you with direct airflow assistance. This helps your engine cooling system work efficiently and keeps the water separate from the electrical elements present in the vehicle. 

There are plastic clips that hold these shields in place securely. Many times these clips break and start to scratch the ground. Sometimes, instead of rubbing on the ground, they can also scratch your car’s tires. This leads to a scraping noise from your vehicle when you turn the steering wheel

Why Does My Car Make A Clicking Sound When Turning Steering Wheel

What Does A Bad Steering Rack Sound Like?

When your steering and rack system doesn’t work properly a thudding or clunking noise is audible. The components of the vehicle turn out to be loose if the starting rack doesn’t work appropriately. This is the main reason why you listen to the thudding or clunking noise when you turn the steering wheel

You might like to read: How Long Can I Drive With A Pinion Bearing Noise?

A Few Final Words

Although it becomes difficult to understand what is the main reason for clicking and popping sounds from your vehicle when you turn the steering wheel

You can understand a few aspects about the sound reasons when you turn a steering wheel and the different types of sounds that come from the vehicles due to multiple reasons. 

It becomes challenging to understand all the car’s mechanisms adequately; however, with the help of the type of sound, it becomes easy to understand what exactly is responsible for the sound. Thank you for reading, we hope we covered all the “noises” from your car. If we missed out on something, do let us know in the comments below.

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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