Nothing terrifies a driver than a car making strange noises. The noises can stem from multiple areas and be caused by a myriad of factors. Have you ever heard a car make some noises when turning? This sound can be embarrassing and terrifying for new or perfectionist drivers.
A lot of clients asked me this question, specifically regarding the sounds that the car has when turning right. Let’s find out.
So, why does the car make noise when turning right but not left?
The answer lies partly in mechanics and partly in physics. When you turn right, the car’s weight shifts to the left, and the added weight can cause noise. The car makes noises when parts like coil springs, struts, ball joints and tie rod ends cannot take the weight as they should or are not lubricated.
Drivers get worried after hearing these sounds because of the underlying repair costs they signal. A car should not make any sound when turning; the parts should be lubricated and serviced regularly so they can absorb the impact sufficiently.
The problem is most of the time connected to the steering wheel. Repairs are possible but not cheap. You are advised to service your car at trusted stations to detect these problems before they affect other areas.
The Mechanical Breakdown
The steering wheel is just but a component in a long line of parts and actions that affect the car’s change of direction. The steering wheel and the steering column are both connected to the rack and pinion.
The pinion and rack are shifted by the steering pin when the wheel turns. The rack and pinion are connected to the vehicle’s hub via the tie rod end attached to either side.
To reduce metal-to-metal contact, these parts have bushing at their contact points. Raw contact can accelerate wear and tear. These bushes with time wear down and create space between the parts. The space results in excessive movement and noise because of the loose components in the system.
The most important aspect to note is the shifting of weight during turning. The extra weight on the loose components can be a little too much to bear. The most affected area is suspension.
So, what is it about this system that results in strange noise when turning?
The Steering Rack And Pinion Could Be Broken
This part constitutes the largest percentage of the steering system. Very many parts move in it and a breakdown in the rack and pinion is not common. Mechanics will tell you how rarely they replace the rack and pinion.
If the problem lies in the rack and pinion, the noise will be characterized by loud bangs when turning. If you hear such noises, get to the repair shop ASAP.
When the driver ignores the signs far too long, the steering column might get affected too. For less severe cases, you only get some low sound clicking from the car under when turning.
Mechanics prefer to check other parts before recommending that you replace the steering rack because of the costs involved. You might have to part with as much as $1200 to get a new steering rack. The labor costs will be calculated as a percentage of the part’s costs or at an hourly rate.
The Struts And Shocks Might Need Repair
Some drivers believe anything except the suspension components can cause noise when turning. Well, they can, especially if they are loosely mounted or worn out. Poorly mounted shocks will slide around when you try to turn.
The suspension plays a role in the car turning process and if the underlying issues affect it, you will hear it make strange noises when the wheel turns. It is common for coil springs around the shocks to crack and this will create some bad noises.
Some bearings located at the top of the shocks can also cause noises. The costs of getting the struts and shocks replaced range from $450 to $900 and several labor hours.
Defective Steering Column Or Boot
If the sound comes from the area around the steering wheel, check the steering column bearing. The sound is usually squealing in nature and increases depending on the speed at which you are turning. There are other signs like excessive steering wheel play although they do not always manifest in these scenarios.
You can solve this problem by sprinkling lubrication into the bearings. You can also isolate the bearing from water.
The Tie Rods Could Be Damaged
They are connected to the tires by the rack and pinion and have rubber ends to reduce wear and tear caused by raw contact. When this rubber wears out, the tie rods are left free to bounce around as they hit the hub. This bouncing can cause severe damage to the system if not dealt with early enough.
The Ball Joints Might Need Replacing
Ball joints are supposed to swivel when the suspension or steering wheel moves. You are most likely to come across ball joins in the tie rod ends or the control arms. A squealing sound when turning could be a result of suck ball joints. To curb this problem, you will need to replace the ball joints. It costs around $80-$150 plus labor costs to have them replaced.
How Long Can I Drive With This Noise When Turning?
Noise from car wheels will not render the car motionless so, you can drive to your country home and back. What you should note however is that for every mile you drive with the ball joints and tie rods squealing, you are increasing your bill at the mechanics’.
Should I Fix The Issues Only On The Right Side Or On The Left As Well?
Well, if the ball joints or tie rods are damaged on the right side only, what’s the need to open up the other wheels. You should however have them check the other side too and repair anything that might cause this problem to repeat itself on the left side.
How Much Does It Cost To Fix This Issue?
The cost depends on the area affected but the highest you can pay is $ 1200, plus labor and tax.
When your car produces noises when changing direction, there is a myriad of culprits. It could be a damaged rack and pinion or a simple case of poor lubrication. At first, the problem seems mild but an experienced car owner knows better than to ignore these noises.