Causes of noises and knocks when turning the steering wheel

Steering wheel noises and knocks when turning is a common problem among cars. These sounds are signs of potential problems with the car’s steering system.

The types of sounds differ, and they can come from different places. When you hear these noises and sounds, you should check the steering system as soon as possible to avoid serious damage and costly repairs.

What are the causes of noises when turning the steering wheel?

To better determine the cause of the noises we need to determine a few aspects.

  • Type of sound. If it’s heard only once or constantly if we can barely hear the sounds or the noises are loud.
  • Where the sound is coming from. For example from the wheel or suspension, etc.
  • When the sound is heard. For example, when driving, when the car stands still when the steering wheel is turned all the way to the right and left.

Bad CV joint

When you make a complete turn of the steering wheel to one side, you will often hear the CV joint creak, and sometimes blows in the steering wheel.

CV joints noises usually appear when driving at speed and when driving on uneven roads. Thus you can check the CV joints by removing and if there is no sign of tear or wear, you can use a CV joint grease.

Bad or failing steering rack

A failing steering rack is most often responsible for the knocks and noises when turning the steering wheel. The noises can be heard when the car is moving and when it is standing and is caused by:

  • loose steering fasteners,
  • the plastic support sleeve is worn out,
  • backlash in the rack shaft bearings,
  • malfunction of the rack shaft bearings,
  • increased space between steering rack teeth. Most often noises caused by this issue are heard when the car is not moving.

It’s difficult to know if these sounds are from the steering rack or other car parts. So, it’s better to check them out with a help of a friend, while one of you is under the car to be close to the “source” of the noise.

Bad struts, bad shock absorbers, and/or thrust bearings

The noises caused by failing struts, bad shock absorbers, and bad bearings are heard not only when you turn the steering wheel but also when you are driving on a straight road.

The only difference is that when you turn the steering wheel, especially at high speeds, the sound is louder since additional loads will act on the struts and bearings.

Damaged springs

Another cause of noises is a damaged spring. You will hear a metallic clanking sound when driving on bad roads or when you are in turns.

Bad or failing stabilizer bars (anti-roll bars)

A bad stabilizer bar also called an anti-roll bar is another part responsible for noise and knocks when turning the steering wheel. The sounds of this symptom are heard when you turn the steering wheel and the car is in motion, and it is louder when you drive on an uneven road.

Additional signs of a bad stabilizer bar are the car body tilts too much when entering a turn and wobbles when braking.

External material in the steering system

In rare cases, let’s say, for example, when you are driving, you enter a turn, there is a slight possibility that you can “catch” a stone in the parts that are responsible for moving your wheel.

Because of this, there is a high chance that little rocks can have friction with those elements. So be careful on bad roads.

This situation is unpleasant because it can be difficult to know that you have something there that is making noise. Thus is better to know and search for it, if you face this problem.

A loosen subframe bolt

Another atypical situation of noise in the suspension when turning is that the subframe bolt is loosened, and the subframe itself can knock when driving, and even more when turning the steering wheel. This is an easy fix just by tightening the corresponding bolt.

A bad universal joint shaft

If turning the steering wheel you hear a knock from the steering column, then most likely the steering wheel shaft joint is to blame.

Faulty tire rod ends

Due to natural tear and wear, the tire rod ends can give up. They emit squeak noises and knocks when turning the steering wheel.

Check the rods by jacking up the car from the side from which the annoying sound is heard and first remove the wheel. Next, you need to shake the rods, they are not supposed to move.


According to what I have mentioned above we can say that there are different types of noises and knocks coming from a lot of parts.

That is why you should get the car to a repair workshop to professionally check the problem, some of these noises are hard to find the culprit.

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