The steering wheel is an essential component for every car user and safety on the road. It enables one to react immediately in case of changing road conditions. However, it can be problematic if your vehicle’s steering wheel makes rubbing noises when turning at a slow speed. The most common cause of rubbing noise when turning at slow speeds is worn CV axle. Most people describe this type of sound as grinding noise. When the axles wear, the joints don’t move smoothly.
When you ignore the rubbing or the squeaking noise, you risk your safety and that of other passengers because some steering elements malfunction. In this guide, I will be showing you different causes of rubbing noises when turning at slow speeds.
Rubbing Noise When Turning at Slow Speed Causes
The rubbing noise when turning at slow speed is an indicator that something in the suspension is not working correctly. So, learning the causes of rubbing noises will help you spot an issue early on and identify the best remedy immediately.
Below are some of those causes and their solutions.
1.Failing Steering Rack
The power steering rack delivers the suspension system’s rotation to the wheels. As a result, you can successfully turn right or left.
If it is damaged, it will interfere with your ability to turn your car smoothly.
Rubbing noises will also be heard, especially when turning at low speeds. If a failing steering rack causes the rubbing noise, you will notice a burning oil odor, steering fluid leaking, the car wobbling from left to right, and the steering wheels trembling.
One of the reasons the steering rack breaks is due to contaminated fluid. The steering fluid also collects dirt over time, damaging the steering system’s effectiveness.
The contaminated fluid causes the steering rack to fail due to increased friction, causing harm to your steering pump.
Contaminated steering fluid, on the other hand, can signal that the steering rack is worn out and has to be replaced. When the steering rack wears down due to friction or corrosion, pollutants are deposited in the steering fluid.
Check the condition of the power steering fluid regularly to ensure it is in good working order. Check the steering fluid level and fill it up if necessary.
If the steering fluid is polluted, get a professional mechanic, they will be able to evaluate the condition of the steering pump and replace it if necessary.
2. Damaged Control Arm Bushings
Control arm bushings reduce vibration between the car’s frame and the wheels, improving driving comfort and handling.
In this case, if the bushings are damaged, you may feel uncomfortable while driving. You may also hear rubbing noises beneath your vehicle, particularly when turning at low speeds.
The lower control arm bushings must be carefully secured to function correctly. Otherwise, it will collide with other components, causing rubbing and clunking noises beneath your vehicle.
The problem can also be due to normal wear. Because the control arm bushing is worn out, it can make rubbing sounds when turning.
Whether you hire a technician or do it yourself, make sure you replace worn-out bushings with high-quality ones.
It is also a great idea to get professional assistance; they can evaluate the status of the surrounding components and repair them if they are damaged.
3. Dry Ball Joints
The ball joints are critical in allowing the control arms and knuckles of steering to ensure the vehicle keeps moving. However, it would help if you lubricated them to keep them operating properly.
When the suspension is twisted, a dry ball joint usually makes a rubbing sound, and in some situations, steering may even tremble.
If your ball joints are dry, ensure you lubricate them to allow your car to operate normally and prevent the squeaking or rubbing noise.
4. Clogged power steering fluid’s reservoir
The lubrication fluid is required for power steering to function. This liquid is kept in a reservoir with a filter to remove any dirt.
However, if you do not maintain the reservoir regularly, it might become clogged, resulting in a rubbing noise when you turn your car slowly.
The fluid reservoir can fail if it becomes clogged; the best approach to avoid such problems is to maintain the fluid reservoir so that problems can be identified and repaired sooner.
5. Faulty Tie Rods
Because of tie rods, a vehicle’s wheels only respond to directions delivered by a car owner who controls the suspension system and steering.
When the rod becomes loose or has a fault, it makes the steering groan or knock noises; therefore, this problem frequently arises, and you will hear the squeaking noise or knocking sounds when you try turning your car at a slow speed.
Tighten the tie rods if they are loose. Alternatively, if your car’s tie rods are damaged, replace them with good quality tie rods, and your car will move smoothly without noise.
6. A Faulty shaft joint
To straighten the shaft, a joint is put between your car’s steering rack and steering wheel. A result of regular wearing and tearing on the joint might cause it to cease functioning properly and cause the steering wheel to become very stiff and start making a rubbing noise.
If your steering shaft joints are worn out or defective, take your automobile to a shop to have them replaced. It would be best to replace them in time and avoid further damages to your car’s engine or other components.
7. Leakage of Steering Fluid
There will probably be low fluid levels in the steering system if the power steering fluid is leaking.
There will not be enough fluid to properly lubricate your steering wheel, which allows it to operate smoothly and silently.
As a result, if your automobile is making rubbing noises while steering at low speeds, it could be because the steering fluid is leaking.
A defective steering pump can cause steering fluid leaks. Broken-out seals, which can be destroyed by regular wear or polluted fluid, are frequently the source of such a leak.
Detecting leaks early and repairing them will help to minimize future harm to your car’s other components.
If the leaks are significant, it would be best to replace the defective parts to avoid future leaks, especially those caused by worn-out seals.
After replacing the broken seals, make sure you use the correct fluid for your vehicle.
8. Dry jounce bushings on front struts
Jounce bushings are installed at the top of the front struts.
The struts’ rubber components act as shock absorbers, reducing vibrations and noise and controlling joint movement. Jounce bushings begin to create creaking noises when they dry, and they could be the cause of rubbing noise when you try turning.
If you experience the symptoms, only lubricating the jounce bushings on the front struts will stop the noise.
9. Worn out struts and shocks
Most car owners may replace most versions of shocks and struts after 100,000 miles; thus, shocks and struts are built to last.
One of the first symptoms that shocks and struts fail is when the steering wheel produces noises.
Therefore, the struts and shocks may be worn if you hear rubbing noises while turning at low speeds.
Struts and shocks provide comfort when driving, but they also help stabilize the movement of your vehicle, which is essential for your safety.
When your struts and shocks are damaged, you risk losing control and handling. As a result, worn-out struts and shocks should be replaced as soon as possible.
If you experience the symptoms above, ensure you replace your struts and shocks.
You can replace them without the assistance of a mechanic.
However, if you do not know how to handle it, get the help of a mechanic because it might be a deadly situation if you mess up.
10. The Steering Column Bearing Broke Down
Check the upper bearing of the column if you hear a loud squeaking noise as you turn slowly.
The heat in the summer can cause the sections of the steering column to expand, which is commonly the cause of the plastic at the back of the steering wheel rubbing against the steering column cowling.
Inspect your car carefully; if the steering column bearings are broken, ensure you replace them.
Repairing the Suspension System Costs
Although squeaking, rubbing and other noises indicate a problem with the suspension system components, it is nearly impossible to estimate what it will cost to fix them.
For instance, the mechanic might require you only to lubricate some parts like the ball joints, which is less costly, so you will not require much to fix the issue.
However, if you have to pay for installing new struts or repairing tie rods, it will definitely cost you more money.
Please note that if you do not take your car to the technician when it starts producing noises, the chances of the faulty part breaking down will only rise.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When my steering wheel starts rubbing, what should I do?
If your steering wheel begins to make the rubbing sounds, the best step is to take your vehicle to repair immediately.
Therefore, it is not right to ignore or attempt to solve the problem on your own because you might risk harming yourself or your car’s suspension.
Is driving my car safe if it makes the rubbing noise as I turn?
Even though you can drive your automobile if it is making a rubbing noise, the problem is likely to lower the performance of your car and risk your life and other road users.
How frequently should I inspect my suspension system?
It would be best to consult your mechanic to determine the frequency you should undertake regular vehicle inspections and your car’s suspension system components.
Final Thoughts on Rubbing Noise When Turning at Slow Speeds
All difficulties that create rubbing noise when turning at slow speeds arise from faulty suspension system parts. On the other hand, various noise types can indicate a wide range of issues, making it almost impossible to establish the components you should get examined.
Because evaluating the amount of harm or lubrication of various automotive parts can be difficult for any automobile lover, eliminating the rubbing noises calls for an expert mechanic so that they can diagnose and help fix the issue.
I hope the details in this article have given you enough information on the causes of rubbing noises and how to fix them. Regardless of how bulky a vehicle is, the steering wheel should turn silently, and you should not use much force to steer it.
As a result, if your car makes a rubbing noise when you turn it at any speed, you should get it checked and may be serviced by an expert or a mechanic.
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.