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So you're driving and then all of a sudden you heard a squeaking sound. If you think it is normal, then the answer is no.
There are actually three possible answers to your question why does my car squeak when I turn its steering wheel. You might want to brace yourself for this because it could be very pressing that it needs immediate attention.
On the other hand, it is still not life-threatening so you could take a deep breath and know that everything is going to be fine. It is actually a good thing that you are hearing it because it serves as a warning and it gives you time to address the problem in your car.
Here are three possible reasons why your car has a weird sound like that just when you are trying to drive.
Power Steering System
When you hear a squeaking sound right when you turn your steering wheel, the power steering system might be the problem. It could be that the said system unit is failing or has already failed. The noise could be the result of the system's pump or its belt that actually makes the power steering works, as it powers the engine.
You need to understand that this particular system controls the wheels through an actuator, which could be either an electric or hydraulic. For the electric ones, it uses electric motors that are small in order for the wheels to turn.
You would notice that should your power steering is not working, it will be hard to for it to make the wheels turn. This is especially noticeable when you are doing it at a low speed.
Meanwhile, on a hydraulic actuator, there should be a belt that is attached right to the engine that makes the hydraulic pump work. When you try turning the steering wheel, the hydraulic pump will emit a fluid into a cylinder that would enable you to turn the wheel easily. Now, when that part is messed up, you will hear a squeaking sound and it is going to be difficult to move the wheel in one turn.
Fluid On Power Steering System Is Low
A squeaking sound could also mean that the power steering fluid of your car is running extremely low. It could also be due to a leak, which is why you are losing the said fluid. Be sure to check the engine if it has leaks because that is usually the area where it happens. If you see a red or light red fluid near the engine, then the case is most likely that your car is experiencing a leak.
Belt Connected To The Steering Wheel Is Worn Out
This is a common case for a squeaking sound on the steering wheel area and the reason is that it might be the time for you to change the belt in connected to it. As soon as the belt gets worn out, it could be loose and it would affect the pressure of the fluid that comes from the pump of the power steering system. It could also happen that if the belt is completely worn out, chances are it could snap. Once that occurs, you can expect that for the power steering to not work at all and you trying to maneuver the wheel would even be more difficult.
This is when you can hear that annoying squeaking sound, especially when you are turning the wheel. You must understand that the parts of the power steering system are all crucial so you must keep them in good condition. I would suggest that you get a car check up at least once a year, so you know which parts of that area need a new one or some good fixing.
They are important because as soon as they get too old to function, a consistent amount of fluid pressure would be hard to be pumped by the power steering system. If this is not fixed early, this system could all stop working and it is going to be difficult for your part to manually steer the wheel. Not only is the noise annoying but the driving would be such a pain on your end.
There is another possibility as to why your car is making that squeaking sound. Now, this is not that usual like the three reasons I mentioned above, but it could still happen. I would say that this is probably the worse case scenario for that squeaking sound of your car.
Ball Joints Problem ( If You Checked 3 Reason Above )
If you hear the squeaking sound in front of your car, it is most likely that it is about time that you changed the bushings or the ball joints of the power steering system.
You cannot dawdle on replacing it once this happens because soon you will feel your car vibrating and even the wheels on the front might even dwindle. Now, that is a dangerous thing to happen because this could really even jeopardize your life.
As a driver, you must pay attention to the sound and the feel that is going on with your car. It may sound like it is not a big deal and it is just annoying, but if you don't address it immediately, it could lead to a more complicated car issue.
Based on my experience, getting a leak on the power steering system is the most often thing to happen.
People are oblivious to it when it happens and the next thing they know is that they hear that awful sound when they start steering the wheel. The belt as well is a piece of material that is often neglected, which is why it is easily worn out.
A good car check up on an annual basis would help you keep your car in an excellent condition. I would recommend doing it because it would save you money in the end for unnecessary repairs in the future.