Why Steering Wheels Make Rubbing Noise When Turning At Slow Speeds

Most drivers at least once notice their car producing a rubbing noise when making a slow turn. If this problem is not handled, their car will deteriorate over time.

Let’s analyze and figure out why steering wheels make rubbing noise when turning at slow speeds and ways to deal with it.

rubbing noise when turning at slow speeds

Why Is There Rubbing Noise When Turning At Slow Speeds?

Common Types Of Noise

One of the most common turning sounds is rubbing noises. They are frequently associated with the steering wheel column’s top joint issues.

They can also produce when the wheel’s cover rubs on the steering wheel’s column coverings.

Screeching, grinding, cracking, and whining sound are other types of noise related to the steering system.

5 Reasons Why Steering Wheel Makes Rubbing Noise When Turning And Solutions

This phenomenon happens due to several culprits, yet the 5 most common reasons are: malfunctioned steering rack, corroded struts and shocks, leaking power steering fluid, worn-out arm bushings, and oil build-up clogging the fluid reservoir.

Damaged Steering Rack

The steering rack is responsible for delivering the steering wheel movement to the wheels. Therefore, you can successfully turn as you want.

A bad steering rack will cause rubbing noises, vibrate the steering wheel, and force hand fatigue.

Steering Rack
Steering Rack

Contaminated steering fluid is a typical reason for a damaged steering rack. After driving for a long time, dirt clings to every part of the car, accumulates, and causes the steering system to malfunction.

Dirt on the steering wheel increases friction, rendering gears to wear down and creating a rubbing sound when turning steering wheel at slow speeds.

Leaking steering fluid at the steering pump or a broken oil seal in the car will build up more dust and damage the steering rack. Therefore, the steering wheel makes a rubbing noise when turning, even at normal speeds.


You should regularly check the condition of the oil and the vehicle’s steering pump. Fill with gear oil and replace the steering pump if it is worn.

In case you find too much dirt on the steering rack and gears, you should go to a car repair shop to have it cleaned.

If strange noise appears while driving, it’s possible that your rack is damaged and you need to replace it completely. You should seek the advice of a professional auto mechanic for sure.

Worn Out Struts And Shocks

Struts and shocks help to control the movement of the car. If worn, they will damage the steering wheel and make a rubbing sound when turning left or right.

It is a major safety concern for drivers and should be replaced when impaired.

Struts And Shocks

Struts and shocks will wear out and damage quickly if your vehicle goes through rough, bumpy roads. Strong shocks will force the struts to crack and the coil springs to break.

Another root for the struts to fail is your driving habits. The sudden use of struts can put them under immediate pressure. Over time, the struts will fail, creating a rubbing noise when turning steering wheel.

The next common cause is a loose strut assembly, making it easy to generate loud noise when you turn or steer.


If you encounter the signs listed above, your struts and shocks may need to be checked and replaced when broken.

You don’t need the assistance of a professional to repair damaged struts. However, it’s advisable to buy these parts from reputable brands to ensure safe driving.

Power Steering Fluid Leakage

The next reason causing noise when turning steering wheel all the way is leaking the steering pump or not enough steering fluid. This fluid acts as a lubricant for the movement of the steering wheel.

If you see a streak of red fluid under the vehicle or a loose belt, it’s a sign of power steering fluid leak.

Check power steering oil

Broken washers, poor quality, or loosely installed steering tubes are the first things you should consider when detecting a steering fluid leak. Worn or long-standing dirt on the steering pump also causes steering fluid leakage.

If it experiences frequent and sudden pressure, the steering tube can burst, causing steering fluid to leak out.


A sign of this problem is that the steering system will notify you that your vehicle’s fluid level is very low. The usual treatment is to add more oil.

But if your car’s oil level is down in a very short time, you should have your car checked.

When the seals are damaged, you should replace them to avoid future oil leaks. Another way to prevent leaks is to use a leak-proof agent.

In addition, you should use types of oil that are recommended for your car type to avoid oil leakage problems.

Failing Control Arm Bushings

Worn arm bushings also cause rubbing noise when turning. It plays the role of helping to reduce vibrations between the chassis and the wheels when traveling on rough roads.

If the arm bushings are faulty, you will feel uncomfortable while driving.

Vibrating steering or uneven tread wear are obvious signs of worn arm bushings.

Arm Bushings
Arm Bushings

The first cause is that the bottom arm bushing is attached quite loosely, making it impossible to operate correctly. So when driving on uneven roads, it will hit other components and damage the steering wheel bushing.


It would be best to replace damaged parts with high-quality ones. You should also check the condition of your arm bushings regularly with a quick drive test under various driving conditions to spot problems.

You can accelerate then brake sharply, turn left and right to get a feel for the noise, and check the smoothness of the steering system.

Consult your mechanic as soon as possible if you notice any performance issues with your arm bushings and related components. These components may be damaged or fractured and require replacement.

Clogged Fluid Reservoir

Failing fluid reservoirs can cause the steering system not evenly to lubricate and cause rattling noises when turning.

A clogged fluid reservoir will make the steering wheel harder to bend and produce more power steering noise when turning wheel.

Filling car power steering fluid

The first common reason is that the fluid reservoir has not been cleaned for long. Oil builds up over time and clogs the reservoir. Drying liquid in the nozzles is also stuck in the pipes leading to the reservoir.


Maintaining the reservoir can handle the problem. You’d better use an appropriate filter to prevent contaminants and excess oil from adhering to the fluid reservoir.

Steering fluid can be mixed with an anti-wear agent, helping keep the reservoir from clogging and preventing turning noises.


What Are The Preventive Measures To Stop The Car From Making Rubbing Noise?

If you are not familiar with car repair, it is best to take your car to a mechanic and ask them to fix it.

Because they know which parts need to be repaired and replaced, they will also inform you of reputable brands to buy suitable replacement parts.

Is Driving a Car When There Is Rubbing Noise Dangerous?

The car makes grinding noise when turning, which may be resolved by lubricating the steering hinges or the universal joint in the steering column.

Any technician can help you with this matter. It’s impossible to know whether this is a dangerous situation without looking at your car, so have a professional check on it.

What Are Some Types Of Sound A Steering Wheel Can Make When Turning?

Aside from rubbing noises, it can cause humming noise when turning steering wheel, or whining, cracking, clicking, and thumping sounds. Each of them happens in distinct situations.

Whining or clicking noise generally indicates a problem with the steering pump system, whereas cracks inform worn or completely damaged suspension joints.

At Which Speed Does The Rubbing Sound Happen?

When you turn at low speeds, you will notice the problems. The joints in the steering system take more weight when you turn the steering wheel slowly and create rubbing noises.


Damaged steering rack, struts, shocks, and arm bushings are the main causes of rubbing noise when turning at slow speeds.

In addition, the power steering fluid leakage and clogged fluid reservoir also affect the wheel and cause power steering noise when turning.

In such cases, you should find a mechanic and have them repair or replace damaged parts if any.

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