Why Does My Steering Wheel Squeal?

Sun Devil Auto Expert, published on 11/02/2015

Although you use it constantly while driving, you probably don’t think much about your Power Steering. Sure, you use it to direct the way the car goes, but you may not contemplate how it works. There are several possible reasons, so it’s important to have it checked out if you notice squeaking, creaking, or clicking sounds.

What Is Happening?

Just like any other part of your car, the steering system has moving parts that get some wear through regular use. As a result, it may need a little maintenance to keep it working properly. Depending on the type of steering system you have, there are different reasons that could you hear a noise. These reasons could include:

  • Low power steering fluid
  • Air in the system
  • Loose or worn belts
  • A pump that needs to be replaced

Power Steering Fluid

A power steering fluid leak is one of the most common problems and is often noticed because of the loud squeak or whine heard when the wheel turns. Small leaks are not unusual, and they are usually very slow. However, once the fluid gets low, you may hear a squealing sound. Also, if air gets into the hoses, the fluid cannot flow properly. As a result, Sun Devil Auto will flush out the system and completely replace the fluid.

Pumps and Belts

A failing pump may also be to blame, as the proper amount of hydraulic fluid is not getting pushed through. Another common issue is loose or worn belts. The ridges along the belt could be worn, causing it to make excessive noise as it spins. In some cases we can check for accurate tension, and then tighten or loosen them as necessary. We can check for accurate tension, and then tighten or loosen them as necessary.

What’s Making the Noise?

To determine how to fix the problem for you, our Service Advisors will ask where you hear the sound. If it is coming from the steering wheel itself, it likely has something to do with the steering system. If the noise occurs only while turning, then it is likely coming from the power steering. If it also happens while going over a bump, etc. it may be coming from somewhere else in the suspension system. In the case of a suspension problem, the noise would likely be more of a creaking than a squeal.