You’re going for your normal drive, but start to notice a horrific grinding sound every time your vehicle makes a turn.
It’s only natural to be alarmed, but chances are it’s something that can be replaced or repaired.
Below, we’ll take a look at 5 reasons your car is making a grinding sound and what you can do to solve the problem.
Table of Contents
1. There May Be An Issue With Your Power Steering
Power steering allows you to turn your vehicle without placing a lot of force on the steering wheel.
Essentially, fluid is used to make the process of turning the wheels less labor-intensive. While many drivers may not be aware of this fluid, it’s an important addition for those who want to be able to make turns safely and easily.
If a vehicle that normally turns easily suddenly has difficulties and grinding noises, it could be due to issues with the power steering system.
Most often, it’s likely that the power steering fluid is either too old or too diminished to allow your car to turn appropriately. The good news is that the solution to this problem is relatively simple.
You will often be able to locate the grinding noise while driving slow.
Solutions For Power Steering Problems
Assuming the issue is with the power steering fluid, the solution isn’t too complicated.
In fact, changing the power steering fluid is similar to changing the oil on a vehicle. Just about anyone with a basic knowledge of car anatomy can take on this task.
For those who want a detailed, step-by-step guide for replacing the power steering fluid, the Advance Auto Parts website has you covered.
Here is a brief overview of the steps to give you an idea about what the process is like:
- Determine the correct fluid for your vehicle using the owner’s manual.
- Use a jack to lift the front end of your vehicle.
- Siphon out as much of the fluid in the vehicle as possible.
- Use a funnel to introduce the new power steering fluid.
- When you think you have added enough, start your vehicle and allow it to run for a minute or so to remove any air bubbles in the system.
- Take your vehicle for a short drive to make sure everything is working correctly.
2. The Bushings On The Control Arm May Need To Be Replaced
While this is a less common issue, it’s entirely possible if you’re driving an older vehicle.
Bushings are rubber pieces located on the control arm of your vehicle. The control arm aids in steering the car while also helping to provide stability.
On that control arm, the bushings play a big role in driving stability. They keep metal pieces from grinding against one another, limit vehicle vibration, and make your drive smoother overall.
Over time, those bushings can wear down, resulting in a rougher driving experience. If they become too worn or are worn away completely, you may begin to notice grinding noises while turning.
Without the buffer that the bushings provide, the control arm and the chassis of your vehicle may come into contact.
That lack of protection means that there will be a lot more vibration and noise while you drive.
This can also cause the car to make a grinding sound while running idle.
What To Do If The Bushings Are Old?
If it seems like the bushings are at fault for the grinding noises coming from your vehicle, your best bet is to replace them.
While this may not be an extremely difficult process for those with some mechanic knowledge, it’s certainly not as simple as changing out the power steering fluid.
Overall, there are three main methods for replacing the bushings:
- Manually. This typically involves a vise and a hammer. It’s the most difficult method and can easily result in damage to the parts.
- Using a threaded press. There is still some work involved in this method, but it is easier due to the use of a ball joint press.
- With a hydraulic press. This is the easiest method but also the least common. Unless you have access to a shop, you may need to seek out a professional for this one.
3. A CV Joint May Be Failing
If you’re struggling with a grinding sound every time you turn, your cv joints, or constant-velocity joints, are a likely culprit.
These joints work to allow power from the transmission of your vehicle to reach the tires.
Although cv joints aren’t complicated parts in themselves, they play an important role in allowing you to drive safely.
For each tire, there are inner and outer joints. If any of those joints are damaged, it can cause your car to elicit grinding sounds when you turn. You might also notice your vehicle shuddering.
Pay close attention while you’re driving and note any abnormal sounds or feelings that are present. Anything that might indicate a damaged cv joint needs to be checked out as soon as possible.
Fixing A Failing CV Joint
Unlike the previous parts, cv joints are actually quite difficult to repair by yourself.
Not only will you need the right tools, but you’ll have to be able to remove several other parts just to reach the location of the cv joints. From there, you most likely need to replace the entire boot that connects to the joint itself.
With that boot replaced, you can return the brake, axle nut, and other parts to their proper places.
If you’re someone with a decent amount of vehicle knowledge, you may be able to trust that you can get the boot replaced correctly. For some extra guidance, you can use this page from Instructables.com.
However, attempting to correct this situation via trial and error can result in a lot of frustration and time wasted. In those cases, it’s far better to seek out the help of a professional.
4. Your Wheel Bearings Could Be Damaged
Much like the human body, cars need smaller, softer parts that serve to keep the harder metal pieces separated. As a result, they limit vibration and noise.
Both the bushings and the cv joints mentioned previously provide this function, and wheel bearings are much the same.
Wheel bearings are located between the wheels and the axles. They protect against friction and ensure that the front end of your car is able to drive smoothly.
If the grinding you hear while you’re turning your car sometimes switches to a whining sound, or you feel that your front wheels are less stable, the wheel bearings might be causing the issue.
Solutions For Damaged Wheel Bearings
Replacing damaged wheel bearings is the best way to go, but it can be a complicated process.
Much like the cv joints, the wheel bearings are located in a place that is rather difficult to get to. Doing so will require the removal of the wheel, braking system, hub, and other pieces.
Because of that, it’s best left to a professional or someone with a decent amount of vehicle knowledge. It’s not a task that anyone can take on easily.
For those who do want to complete this repair themselves, WikiHow offers a fantastic guide that will walk you through the process.
5. The Brakes In Your Car Might Be Wearing Out
The brakes in your car can also be the cause of grinding noises in some circumstances.
We also have an article here specifically about grinding noise while using the brakes.
Typically, what happens is that the brake pads that create a buffer between the rotor and the caliper become worn out. Without that pad, these two parts create higher amounts of friction, noise, and damage.
Because this is an issue with the brakes, you might notice grinding sounds occurring when you’re stopping as well as during turns.
Get your brakes checked right away if you suspect that anything might be wrong with them. Damaged brakes can be the cause of a serious accident.
Fixing The Brakes In Your Car
In order to get a good look at what’s going on with your brakes, you’ll need to get the wheel out of the way. The good news is that this process is going to be quite a bit easier than dealing with the deeper parts like the cv joint and wheel bearings.
That said, it’s still a job best left to those that have at least an intermediate level of car knowledge.
With the wheel removed, you’ll be able to get a better look at the brakes. You’ll need to uninstall the old pieces and take a close look at them.
How do the brake pads look? Is the rotor in good shape?
At this point, you’ll know what needs to be replaced. Often, it may be the brake pads, rotor, or both. For a step-by-step guide on completing the job, you can refer to the AutoZone website.
Other Situations That May Cause A Grinding Noise
While they may not happen explicitly while turning, there are a few other causes for vehicle grinding noises worth considering.
If you’ve checked the parts listed above and didn’t locate the problem, take a look at the following parts as well:
- Water pump
- AC compressor
- Radiator fan
Read on here, if you mostly experience grinding noise while accelerating.
These parts are more likely to cause grinding noises outside of when you’re turning, so pay special attention to them if you’re noticing those sounds at any point during your drive.