Under normal circumstances, your car should not make any noise when turning the vehicle. Thus, it is perfectly normal to get scared when you hear such a noise for the first time. You can’t help but wonder if there is something that you did wrong.
As a perfectionist or new driver, I can understand your fears. Some of the things that cross your mind at that moment are what could have possibly gone wrong. Or rather, how much will you have to fork out of your pocket to fix that problem?
Let me shed some light on that. Your car produces a noise when you turn right but not left because of mechanics and physics. It has nothing to do with being a bad driver!
When you turn your car right, its weight tilts to the left, and that extra weight can be responsible for such noise. The noise can spring from several causes, chief among them being the inability of various car parts like the struts, coil springs, ball joints, or tie rods to absorb the weight as they should.
Likewise, it could be that these car parts have not been lubricated as they ought to be.
While the noise is not a cause for alarm, failure to figure out the problem and fix it early can be fatal.
The problem might get more serious the more you leave it unfixed. But here is some good news. You might not need a mechanic to fix the situation since you can use the Do It Yourself (DIY) approach. You need to know what you are looking for.
I will now give you a list of potential causes for that creaking sound.
9 Reasons Car Makes Noise When Turning Right But Not Left
As I have already noted, two significant explanations come into play when trying to understand why your vehicle makes noise when you are turning – this has everything to do with mechanics or physics.
Since the problem is mainly associated with the steering wheel, it is vital to understand how the mechanical parts work when they are performing optimally. The steering wheel does not operate in a vacuum. It is among many other components that cooperate to get your car’s tires moving.
It is usually connected to the steering column, attached to the rack and pinion. Turning the steering wheel spins the steering column, then shifts the pinion and rack. The rack and pinion are usually attached to a tie rod end on both sides, ultimately connecting to the car’s hub.
A bushing is usually placed at any point where these parts might meet to prevent metal-to-metal contact – the reasoning behind this is that metal-to-metal contact can increase wear and tear. However, the bushing wears with time, leading to the avoided eventuality.
With some space left between the parts, the components become loose, and you might start to hear some noise when there’s movement. Mainly, you will hear noise when your car turns right since the weight shifts to the left and becomes too much on the loose components.
With this background, I will now highlight some of the major causes.
1.A Steering Rack and Pinion That Are Broken
This is the most probable cause of that irritating noise since it accounts for the most significant percentage of components in the steering system. It is a bit easy to tell when you have a grave rack and pinion problem – the noise manifests itself in a loud bang when you turn.
It would help if you visited a professional mechanic as soon as you notice such a bang since any delays can cause further damage to the steering column.
However, when the rack and pinion problem is not advanced, you will only hear a subtle clicking sound from under the car when turning.
There is a negative side to all this. It is a tad expensive to make repairs to the steering rack. Thus, most mechanics are less likely to recommend replacing the rack and pinion. They will have to check other parts first and only recommend that as a last resort.
2. Struts and Shocks That Are Worn Out
Suspension components are the second most cause of noise when you turn your car. Imagine placing some stones on one end of a container and then toppling it over. Isn’t it evident that they will all shift to the other end of the container and produce some sound in the process?
This analogy typically happens when suspension components are worn out and you turn your car to the right. They will slide over since they are loose, resulting in a strange noise when the vehicle turns.
I mean things like cracked coil springs around the shocks or the top mount bearings above the shock by suspension components.
Therefore, it is erroneous to assume that suspension components cannot cause noise.
3.A Faulty Steering Column
I pointed out that the steering wheel is attached to the steering column. Therefore, you might want to check the steering column bearing whenever you hear the noise coming from the area around the steering wheel.
Some of the tell-tale signs that you are having a problem with the steering column include a squealing sound that increases when you increase the turning speed and excessive steering wheel play.
It is easy to fix a steering column problem. You have to apply some lubricant to the bearings! You do not have to spend a lot of money on a professional mechanic.
4.Damaged Tie Rods
Back to basics. The rack and pinion are usually attached to a tie rod end on both sides, ultimately connecting to the car’s tires. Turning the steering wheel spins the steering column, then shifts the pinion and rack.
The tie rod ends are laced with rubber to prevent wear and tear that might result from metal-to-metal contact. Eventually, this rubber wears off, and you start hearing the tie rod making noise since it collides with the hub. It is prudent to replace the tie rod ends as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
5.Worn Ball Joints
Ball joints are primarily located at the tie rod ends or the control arms. When there is movement in the suspension system or the steering system, these ball joints swivel. There are excessive movements in the steering and suspension systems whenever the ball joints begin to wear out.
Alternatively, they may remain stuck at one point.
The best part is that fixing the problem is easy. All you have to do is have a mechanic replace the ball joints. It will not be very costly since it requires an amount ranging from $80 to $150 inclusive of labor.
6.Control Arm Bushings That Are Worn Out
The function of the control arm bushings is relatively straightforward. They keep the control arms in place and prevent them from colliding with the other metals. So, what happens when the bushing gets worn out? Your guess is as good as mine.
Wearing off the bushings leaves the control arms loose. Since they form part of the car’s suspension system, they will shift whenever you turn your vehicle, and their weight will clash with the side of the housing, producing a loud bang.
7.Low Power Steering Fluid
There is no hydraulic system that will be complete without a power steering pump. This is an essential component of your car since it is responsible for circulating and pressurizing the power steering fluid.
On the other hand, the pressurized power steering fluid is instrumental in turning the wheel. Whenever the power steering pump lacks enough steering fluid, it will likely produce some noise.
One of the causes of a low power steering fluid level is a potential leak, though uncommon. It is vital to fix the leak before adding the fluid.
8.A Damaged Power Steering Pump
While power steering pumps are essential, they can become a nuisance once damaged or when they fail. How can you tell if the problem is a failed power steering pump? You will hear an unsettling noise coming from the top of the car’s engine bay as it turns.
If you do, then you will want to get a replacement.
9.Damaged Wheel Bearing
Turning your car means that you are applying pressure on the outer wheel bearing of the vehicle. If the bearings are suitable, they will be able to withstand the pressure. But as they start to wear off, they are likely to produce some noise when pressure is applied.
You will mainly experience this when you are driving at extremely high speeds.
On Car Makes Noise When Turning Right but Not Left
You don’t have to be startled if you hear some loud noise when turning your car to the right. This is particularly so if it is the first time. However, you will have to fix some serious problems if you don’t get your car fixed soon afterward. Letting the issue advance may lead to further unanticipated issues.
In a nutshell, your car will make noise when you turn right because of any of the following: broken steering rack and pinion, struts and shocks that are worn out, a faulty steering column, damaged tie rods, worn ball joints, control arm bushings that are worn out, low power steering fluid, a damaged power steering pump, or a damaged wheel bearing.
Unless it is a damaged steering column, you won’t have to worry about the cost of fixing these causes as they are relatively affordable.
Hi I’m Marshall based in 1478 Doctors Drive Santa Monica, CA. I’m your DIY Car Repairman with more than 5 years experience in automobile repair, a skill I learned from my old man.
I started this blog to share my experience on both simple and technical aspects of your car.