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Being able to turn smoothly and confidently is an essential part of driving. If all of your car’s various systems are working properly, you’ll have very little issue turning. However, if you’re noticing that the car shudders when turning, or that there’s a vibration either in the wheel or the driver’s seat during a turn, it means there’s something going wrong. Other potential things to pay attention to while it’s happening include listening for a whining sound, and listening for a clunking or knocking sound.
When you turn your steering wheel, the steering shaft engages the power steering rack, which requires the right level of fluid and an operable power steering pump. Turning also engages other elements of your car, including the shocks/struts, springs, tie rods and more. Essentially, turning the steering wheel engages almost every suspension and steering component in the front end of the vehicle.
This makes a great deal of sense as you must consider the fact that not only must those components do their jobs, but they must be strong enough to support the shifting weight of your vehicle (during turns, your car’s weight is redistributed – you feel this as a force pulling you to one side or the other, but the same thing happens to the car itself).
Low Power Steering Fluid: One of the most commonly seen reasons for a shudder during turning is low power steering fluid. If the fluid level is low, the power steering rack and pump don’t have the right pressure to operate. It could also indicate a leak somewhere in the power steering system, which will need to be inspected.
Failing Power Steering Pump: If your power steering pump is beginning to die, it could very easily cause these symptoms. As the pump fails, it produces less and less pressure for the power steering system, causing vibrations, shudders, whining noises and more.
Kinked/Blocked Power Steering Line: You need clear power steering fluid lines to ensure the right fluid and pressure distribution. If a line has become blocked or kinked, or is leaking, it can reduce fluid pressure and flow.
Failing Wheel Bearing: While its most common to experience a roaring noise when a wheel bearing is beginning to fail, they can also cause vibrations that some drivers interpret as a “shudder”.
Failing Differential: If you have an all-wheel drive vehicle, it may be a problem with the front or center differential. When these begin to fail, they will create a shudder, particularly under the stress and strain of a turn.
A top-rated mobile mechanic will come to your home or office to inspect the vehicle to determine the cause of the shudder. The mechanic will then provide a detailed inspection report that includes the scope and cost of the necessary repairs.
The mechanic will need to test drive your vehicle to first verify the shudder while turning, and second to determine possible causes. The mechanic will then inspect multiple areas of the car, including the power steering system, the differentials if so equipped and more.
You should be able to turn smoothly and cleanly at almost any speed without experiencing unusual sensations. If your car is shuddering while turning, there’s something wrong and it must be addressed. This symptom can indicate impending failure of several key components, including a wheel bearing, your power steering pump and others. One of our mechanics can diagnose and repair your car to ensure your safety on the road.