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Brad
Brad, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
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Experience:  ASE Certified Master Technician
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why does my car squeak when i turn the wheel

Customer Question

why does my car squeak when i turn the wheel
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Brad replied 5 years ago.
HelloCustomer and welcome to JustAnswer.com!

A squeaking noise when turning the wheel is usually the result of a worn ball joint or tie rod end. In the old days, there was a fitting on these steering components and periodically (usually during an oil change) grease would be pumped into this fitting to keep it lubricated.

Most 'modern' cars (about late 80's and newer) have sealed joints, meaning they are 'lubricated for life' and can not be lubricated. Unfortunately, what engineers think and what happens in the real world are often two completely different things! Over time, these joints can dry out, begin to corrode, and cause this noise which is basically metal rubbing on metal.

Anyways, what you'll need to do is have someone crawl under the front of the car with a mechanic's stethoscope and listen to each of these components (upper ball joint, lower ball joint, and outer tie rod end) on each side while the wheel is turned back and forth. Do not jack up the vehicle until the noise is located, as sometimes this moves the joint into a different position, and the squeaking noise can actually disappear for awhile making it more difficult to find.

It's also possible your power steering belt is contaminated with oil or grease or is loose, which can cause an 'ear shattering' high pitched squealing noise from under the hood while turning the wheels. Park the vehicle in some dirt or on gravel, turn the key off and move the steering wheel back and forth (it will be stiff, but should move). If the noise continues with the engine off, then the power steering is not the issue.

Lastly there is the possibility of something rubbing in the steering column while turning the wheels. This is quite rare, but has been known to fool a few mechanics when it does occur. If this is the case, it may be quite loud inside the vehicle, but barely audible under the hood.

Good luck!

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