Steering Wheels & Grinding Noises

by Jay Motes
Minerva Studio/iStock/Getty Images

A steering wheel that produces a grinding noise is not only annoying, but the grinding noise may be the sign of a serious problem. Do not ignore steering noises and other problems as the cause may indicate an impending steering failure.

Power Steering

Woman driving scenic road

The typical cause of grinding noises when turning the steering wheel is low power steering fluid. The power steering fluid reservoir should be checked and the fluid topped off if it is low. Air trapped in the system from leaks or recent repair work will also cause a grinding noise. A loose or worn power steering belt may also cause the noise.

Wheel Bearings

Mechanics looking at wheel bearings

Worn wheel bearings will create a grinding noise when the steering wheel is turned, but only when the vehicle is moving. Failed wheel bearings may result in a loss of steering control or the loss of the entire wheel. Inspect wheel bearings at the first sign of problems and promptly replace worn bearings.

Other Causes

Woman steering car

Worn bearings inside the steering column may create a grinding noise, but these bearings rarely fail. Worn tie rod ends and other steering components may wear and also create grinding noise when the steering wheel is turned. Worn brake rotors and CV joints may also create a grinding noise, but only if the vehicle is moving.