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6 Overwhelming Reasons Why Your Car Squeal When You Turn the Steering Wheel

Squealing noise on a car, like any other sound that emanates from your vehicle, is a sure sign of impending trouble or a mechanical problem currently happening on your automobile. These squealing sounds should not be ignored the minute you hear them. So, the next time you experience squealing on your car when you turn the steering wheel, it is better to investigate to know what the problem is.

One of the major possibilities squealings happens is when the power steering unit and its components fail. And this system (power steering) makes your driving more convenient than before. We will discuss here of the most common reasons on why your car squeal when you turn the steering wheel.

How the power steering system works​

By using either the hydraulic system or electric actuators, power steering makes controlling the front wheels easier and convenient for the driver. Additionally, the job of manipulating the steering wheel is also made easier and comfortable. Here are the two types of a power steering system and their brief descriptions.

  • Hydraulic system

The hydraulic system in a power steering works with the help of a belt drive. This belt is powered by the engine through a pulley which transmits the power to a hydraulic pump. This pump, in turn, is actuated when the driver turns the steering wheel sending fluid to a cylinder that aids the driver in turning the wheel easily.

  • Electric actuators

In vehicles with electronic systems, power steering is made possible via small electric motors that help in turning the wheels as easy as possible. This system is becoming more popular in current models of cars, SUVs, trucks, and other modern vehicles.

When these systems (hydraulic and electronic) fail, including their accessories and other parts, it would be harder to control the steering wheel most especially during low speeds. Unlike when your car jerks while you are driving, a squealing noise is more on the steering system. We enumerate below the working parts and elements of a power steering system and the effect of each one when it fails.

Common reasons your car squeal when you turn the wheel

1. Low level of power steering fluid

The power steering fluid plays a vital role in realizing an effective operation of this system. When you have low fluid level, there is a squealing sound that you will hear especially when you turn the steering wheel. One possible cause of low level of power steering fluid is a leak.
You can investigate under the engine if this fluid had leaked. Look for red or pink liquid, which are the typical colors of most power steering fluid.

2. Malfunctioning power steering pump

When the power steering pump shows sign of failing, you may hear squealing noise when you turn the wheel. The wearing out of seals, gaskets, and other parts of the pump enable the pump to lose the needed pressure to push the fluid around the system. A pump that starts to wear out will eventually lose its capability to operate efficiently over time that will cause the power steering hard to control.

3. Defective power steering belt

Another cause of squealing sound when you turn the steering wheel is a worn out belt of the power steering pump. The belt can slip from the pulley when it wears out which may affect the fluid pressure created by the pump. All you have to do is replace the belt with a new one.
Read here on how to replace the belt.

4.  Power steering components

The suspension or steering components (such as tie-rod ends, seals, ball joints, etc.) which in any way have lost lubrication also could cause squeaking or squealing noises while the steering wheel is in operation. These parts of the power steering system all need lubrication, and if the lube dries out, that could lead to noise. You may consult your technician about this and he should be able to identify the problem then recommend some repairs.
Additionally, you may observe squeaking from the steering wheel housing in new vehicles that rub against the interior trim, more frequently during hot weather when materials expand which enable small gaps to close. When these cases happened, a trip to your car dealer or body shop might be the best alternative if warranty period is still in effect.
Moreover, if you might experience locking of your steering wheel, find out here to show you the best way on how to do it.

5. Braking system

If you hear the squealing sound while you turn the steering wheel and at the same time you hit the brake slowly, this may entail a problem in your brake system. The brake pads might be needing replacement. Check your brakes to find out.

Related post: 13 Reasons Why Disk Brakes are the Best​​​

6. Another source of squealing

Still, you may hear a squealing sound from your car where the source is the least that you expect. Sometimes, tire noise could be the source of the squeal or squeak you hear especially if it happens only when your car is driven on certain surfaces. When this happens, you may want to check your wheels if they are still in good running condition.
Furthermore, if you hear whining noise from your car, especially when you are accelerating, read 
here. By reading this article, you will find out the meaning of other unfamiliar sounds coming from your vehicle, its causes, and what you have to do to eliminate these annoying noises.


There are certainly more reasons on why your car squeal when you turn the steering wheel, and they need your attention to prevent you from more serious troubles when you ignored these signs. It is better you “listen” to what your car is telling you as this will not only save precious lives but will also avoid costly repairs when things get more serious.

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