Q: What would cause a creak/pop/snap type sound when turning the steering wheel at sharp turns?

asked by on November 18, 2016

For the past few years, I have heard a single creak or pop when I turn my steering wheel when pulling out of my driveway first thing in the morning. The sound goes away by the time I get out of my neighborhood (appx 3-4 sharp turns). Within the past few weeks, the sound is occurring throughout my entire 20 minute commute when I make sharp/slightly sharp turns. It may go away if I drive later in the day, but it's usually present when I first start driving the car at any time. I've also noticed that my steering is a little "looser" - meaning I can turn the steering wheel without seeing as much response as before. Any ideas?

Thanks!

Kate

My car has 97000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello Kate. When dealing with power steering concerns always start by simply checking the level of power steering fluid. If it is not burned, low, or a bad color your issue is likely related to the suspension. The steering and suspension components both have an incredible effect on each other. You can often feel popping from the CV-joints, axle issues, ball joints, and worn bushings. You will want to raise the vehicle off of the ground to get a better look at some of these components. However, should do a visual inspection both on the ground and in the air however to compare the tires when they are under pressure and when they are "unsprung". If you do not see anything out of the normal, have someone turn the steering wheel clock to clock to attempt to recreate the popping while its raised off the ground. Only further testing will pin point the issue, but it may be suspension related instead of a power steering issue.

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