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Why Is My Steering Wheel Squeaking?

Published on Aug 10, 2022 by Thomas Law Offices.

Most motorists who aren’t well-versed in auto mechanics take their vehicles in to be serviced the moment they show signs of trouble. A select few drivers delay getting their vehicles checked until they start being unreliable or leave them stranded, though.

A squeaky steering wheel is one such concern that’s not ideal for putting off getting checked out. This can be a sign of various mechanical issues that may leave you stranded and cause a crash.

Our goal is to highlight some of the more common explanations for steering wheel squeaking so that you’ll understand the importance of addressing such a concern right away. We’ll also address what you can do if you suspect that another motorist’s lax car maintenance resulted in them hitting you.

Common Causes of Steering Wheel Squeaking

Cars need to undergo regular maintenance to ensure that they perform at an optimal level. Age and use can wear down car parts, causing them to be less efficient and make concerning noises. A squeaky steering wheel may be a sign that the following car parts need to undergo repairs:

Malfunctioning Ball Joints

Over time, ball joints can become damaged and deteriorate, causing a loud squeak every time you move your wheel. If your steering wheel is squeaking on turns or under heavy acceleration, the chances are that one of your ball joints needs replacing.

Ball joints connect your car’s control arms to its spindles and help maintain alignment. As they wear down over time, they cause excessive play among these parts, which leads to a clunking sound when you turn or accelerate.

Replacing worn-out ball joints should only take an hour if you are experienced with cars; otherwise, it might be better to take your car to a mechanic for diagnostic testing before making any repairs yourself. You may also consider replacing other suspension components while having your car serviced.

Loose Tie Rod Ends

When your steering wheel begins to squeak, it’s usually a sign that one of your tie rod ends needs tightening.

Tie rod ends are rubber boots that cover a metal connection between your car’s wheels and your vehicle’s frame. Over time, these boots crack and wear down, which can cause excessive play in your car’s suspension system.

If you suspect your car has loose tie rod ends, have them inspected by a mechanic as soon as possible. A loose tie rod can lead to other problems with your car’s suspension or steering systems—issues that could potentially be much more expensive than replacing a worn boot.

Loose Pitman Arm Bushings

If your steering wheel is making a squeaking noise, it could be because you’ve got loose pitman arm bushings.

The pitman’s arm is one of several suspension and steering components that control your car’s wheel motion. Your wheel squeaks when these bushings become loose or worn out.

Fixing them is a pretty simple process. All you need are tools, grease, and a little know-how. Before you start, make sure to turn off your car and remove any items from around your steering column.

Again, if you don’t possess above-average knowledge about cars, then any lawyer would advise you to leave such work to professionals to ensure you don’t endanger your life or others’.

Loose Tie Rods

Tie rods are part of your car’s steering system and connect your wheels to your vehicle’s steering mechanism. Sometimes, tie rods can become loose or cracked, especially following an accident. Tie rods tend to rattle and make other noise when you drive, which may be what’s making your steering wheel squeak.

Loose Kingpin Bushing

The kingpin bushing is a piece that connects your vehicle’s steering wheel to its frame. It prevents lateral movement and keeps your wheels straight on even ground surfaces.

In some cases, you may experience looseness or squeaking in your steering wheel because of an issue with your kingpin bushing. You’ll definitely want to have any such concerns checked and replaced if needed.

Worn Out U-Joint

If you hear a grinding noise coming from your steering wheel when turning left or right, it could be due to worn-out universal joints (U-joints). These joints connect each end of your tie rod and are responsible for allowing them to move freely.

U-joints should be replaced regularly based on mileage and how often you drive off-road.

Uneven Tire Tread Depth

One of the causes of a squeaky steering wheel is uneven tire tread depth. You’ll often feel that you have no traction when turning when there’s too much rubber on one side of your tires and not enough on the other.

While it’s unlikely that a professional driver would notice or even care about uneven tread depth, passengers in your car will hear and be affected by it. As such, always check your tires regularly to ensure they are properly inflated and evenly worn. If you find an imbalance, don’t hesitate to take your car into a shop for an inspection—it could save you from an accident down the road!

Car Accident

An unreported car accident, such as someone running into your vehicle and then driving off, can shake your steering wheel and cause it to start squeaking.

You’ll want to ensure that you get an inspection as soon as possible after an accident to make sure your car is still safe to drive—even if it looks okay from the outside.

Car accidents are inevitable; even good drivers will get into wrecks from time to time. However, if all motorists ensured that their vehicle was in tip-top condition before getting out on the road, it would greatly reduce everyone’s risk of becoming involved in a crash.

Recovery Options Available if a Poorly Maintained Vehicle Injured You

Most motorists who become involved in car accidents feel like they’re at a loss afterward. They express to our attorneys how they aren’t just worried about their prognosis given the injuries they’ve suffered in their crash, but how they will afford their medical bills and missed work.

One benefit to working with a Chicago auto accident attorney on your case is that they won’t leave any proverbial leaf unturned when determining liability for your crash. They will investigate every angle, including whether unaddressed mechanical issues were responsible for your accident and, if so, fight tooth and nail to ensure you receive just compensation in your case.

There’s no cost to you to have Thomas Law Offices evaluate your accident case. Fill out our online contact form to establish a line of communication with our Illinois car accident law firm today.

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Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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