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lexpert, Lexus Master tech
Category: Lexus
Satisfied Customers: 9974
Experience:  Master Certified with lexus, 8 years experience with Lexus
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There is a rubbing noise when I turn my steering wheel. Why?

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When turning my steering wheel, I've noticed a rubbing noise. It started when the weather turned cold but now it happens all the time. It also feels like a small drag when turning the wheel until it warms up.

Hello and thank you for using just answer. Is this kind of a "squeaking" noise that seems to come from the inside of the vehicle when turning the wheel to park? I am very familiar with this car and own one personally. I think I may know what you are trying to describe.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

It does sound like a squeaking noise. It was very cold one day and I started to move the car and the steering wheel felt like there was a drag on it and it made this noise. I thought the power steering fluid was cold and not working but the noise continued after the car warmed up and still does it.

Just to be 100% clear here, is this noise very evident/defined inside the car or is this a faint noise that sounds like it is coming up from the front of the car; so it's muffled?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

It sounds like it's coming from inside the car near the base of the steering column.

You are exactly right on that. I just wanted to be sure we are both talking about the same noise. This is what I thought you would be dealing with. VERY common on this body ES and also the RX.

Open the driver door and get on your knees with a flashlight, behind the brake pedal area you will see where the steering shaft comes down to exit the vehicle. The shaft passes through a big black rubber boot. Your issue here is that the boot is contracting with cold temperature and the lubricant between the shaft and the boot has dried up. This causes the boot to "drag" on the shaft when you turn it and make noise. It's like shoes on a basketball court, annoying. What I recommend you do is use some glass cleaner or rubbing alcohol to clean out this area a little, stick your finger in the boot and clean around the shaft as best as possible; it's a tight fit but the boot does have some flex. Once it's cleaned out you need to stick a blob of silicone grease on your finger and work it down in this area, rub it all around the shaft where it touches the boot/etc. It helps to start the car and turn the steering around. While you do this also to work the lubricant in.

If you don't want this hassle sometimes you can short cut all this by sparking some wd-40 or spray lubricant in this area and work the steering around but usually this will not last.

Let me know if you have further questions, I hope this helps!

lexpert and 2 other Lexus Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I tried to find the boot you referred to and just want to make sure I'm in the right spot. At the base of the steering column, past the linkage, is a hard rubber boot with a clamp around it. Do I remove this clamp before applying the grease? It seems obvious but I wanted to make sure this is the right area you are talking about.

No don't remove the boot, you are going to be working directly in the centre where the metal steering shaft passes the boot.

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