Have you been noticing some popping noise when turning? This problem sounds serious. There should not be any popping sounds when turning the wheel. Unfortunately, these sounds can appear and can damage your driving experience, but you should not worry because we got you covered.
As the car ages, the components age as well, and they are not doing their job properly. They tend to make sounds or possibly affect the driving characteristics of your vehicle.
These sounds can be intimidating at first because the suspension is the system that guarantees your stability and safety on the road. But you shouldn’t worry because everything can be fixed. The most important thing is to diagnose the problem quickly. That’s what you are going to learn here.
In this article, we are going to cover everything you need to know when it comes to popping noise when turning. We are going to learn when these noises appear and under what conditions. Then, we are going to discuss what are the possible reasons why these sounds appear in the first place.
After that, we are going to cover the components that are affected by these popping noises. This is for you to make a close inspection and see what is causing the damage to the components. And then we are going to explain to you how you can replace some of these components that are making the popping noise when turning easily and effectively at home with DIY tools. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the article.
What Is Popping Noise When Turning?
A popping noise when turning is an unpleasant sound that the driver hears when he is turning the wheel left or right.
This sound can affect the driving performance of the vehicle because when something is popping or squeaking, it means that something is not right and needs to be addressed.
These problems can also put you in danger because when something pops and squeaks when you are taking a corner, or you are moving the wheel when the car is stationary, it usually means that something is wrong with the suspension.
The suspension is one of the necessities that need to be checked and need to be in proper working order if you want your driving experience to be perfect. But you also have to develop your troubleshooting knowledge and know-how to test components.
Troubleshooting is an essential part of car ownership. Troubleshooting is for people who love their cars and they always want everything to be checked and fixed.
You can always take your car to a dealership if you are not that experienced. But it’s better to learn the ins and outs of your car and to be always prepared to troubleshoot to take care of the issues that pop in every once in a while.
Doing this will probably save you thousands on mechanics. Since you will be able to troubleshoot and diagnose a popping noise, you will either be able to repair the car by yourself or you can tell the mechanic what you assume is wrong and move from there.
Although they are mechanics, they sometimes misdiagnose some issues. And this misdiagnosing is costing you money, not them. So, it’s better to have your eyes opened all the time. In this article, we are going to learn how you can do that.
What Are The Possible Reasons Why This Popping Noise When Turning Appears?
To troubleshoot, you first need to learn from where the noise is coming. Either from the wheel or the steering rack. A sound check is one of the first steps that you need to do to get the problem diagnosed right.
There can be multiple reasons why you can get this problem in the first place. But if you diagnose the sound, you are on the right track. Basically, there can be three possibilities. It’s either is the tire, steering system, or suspension components.
And in this chapter, we are going to discuss them all and learn all the possibilities. Plus, we’ll look at how you can test these components or perform various checks to have a better picture of which of them is bad. So, let’s begin.
Loose hubcaps are one of the simplest things that can cause popping noise to appear when turning. The hubcaps are basically too loose and go in and out of their place. This is resulting in popping noise in the process. In the end, when the hubcap becomes too loose, it’s going to fall off somewhere on the road and you will have to get a new set of hubcaps for your car. A new set is probably going to cost you between $30 to $50.
Bad Steering Rack Bushings
The steering rack is one of the things that can go bad and cause popping noise when turning. This steering rack is located under the engine and its job is to make the turning of your vehicle possible.
The steering rack is basically a tube that has mechanical components inside that move left and right based on the input that the driver gives by turning the wheel.
When these steering racks fail, they can be very costly to fix. The thing that fails on these steering racks are the seals and they tend to leak. Also, when the bushings on the steering rack are failing, they can cause some popping noise when turning to appear.
New steering racks can be expensive and that’s why some owners would rather rebuild the steering rack instead of replacing it and call it a day. But a new rack will probably be a better long-term solution if you want to get this problem fixed.
To see if your steering rack is making a popping noise when turning, you can try to hear when someone else is turning the wheel of your car. If you notice some sounds that are coming from the rack, then the culprit for this problem is probably the steering rack.
Also, a good thing is to get under the car and inspect the rubber bushings on the steering rack. Try to move them from their place and see if there is a lot of play. If there is play, then you know that your steering rack bushings are the problem.
Cost To Replace Bushings On A Steering Rack
The cost to replace the bushings is not that expensive. But to replace these bushings, you need to remove the steering rack from its position. Then, address the problem on a workbench.
For this job, you are going to need a press to press the new bushings in. But before that, you have to remove the old bushings out from the steering rack. This work can be frustrating if you are a beginner because bushings can be pretty stubborn and would not like to come out without a fight.
After you removed the old bushings, you have to place the new ones in. But before you do this job, you will have to grease them up really nicely. This is for the bushings not to create friction and wear off prematurely. After you do this, then you can mount the rack again on your car.
This work can cost more than $1000 to be performed at a shop. This is the case because the whole rack has to come out and the engine has to be lifted in the air to get a proper working space and perform the repair properly.
Also, this job is not beginner-friendly and will require a lot of skill to get everything done correctly.
Damaged CV Joint
A damaged CV joint could also be one of the culprits for a popping noise when turning to appear. What is the CV joint? The CV joint or constant velocity joint is somewhat of an axle for front-wheel-drive cars.
This CV joint is a part of the CV axle and has the role to transfer the torque from the transfer case to the wheels. The CV joint is basically an axle that is installed at an angle. And this joint is following the movement of the tire. It is made to be flexible and has a lot of bearings inside that make all this movement possible.
But over time, these bearings tend to wear off. That’s either from lack of lubrication or high mileage. When the bearings wear down, a popping noise when turning starts to appear and you will notice these noises more and more as the problem gets worse and worse.
To inspect the CV joint, you need to get under the car and see the rubber boot. The rubber boot is right next to the wheel knuckle. When inspecting, see if there is damage to the rubber boot and if there is, then you probably need to replace the joint or replace the whole axle.
If there are no visible leaks or damage to the boot, it is a good idea to remove the boot and see the condition of the joint bearings. If they are good, then you can grease them up. Or if they are damaged, you have to replace them altogether.
Cost To Replace CV Joint
Replacing the joint alone can cost a lot of money to do and in most cases, the best thing to do is to replace the whole CV axle. Replacing the CV axle is a better long-term solution for this problem, and you will not have to worry about it anymore. These axles can cost around $150 new and they are pretty simple to replace. But when you replace them, you will probably need an alignment as well since you replaced a suspension component on your car.
Worn Out Tie Rods
Tie rods can also wear down and cause popping noise when turning to appear on your car. These tie rods are basically connecting your steering rack with the wheel and they are affecting steering greatly. So, when the tie rods are not good, you are going to experience some bad steering problems as well as popping noise when turning.
These symptoms can be mild, but as time progresses, they are going to become bigger and they will eventually start affecting your steering ability.
The steering ability is crucial if you want to keep your car on the road. So, if the ball joints on your end links are worn, your car will basically not steer properly and will pop and squeal while you are catching a corner at a higher speed. Just like in the Hollywood movies, when old cars are turning at high speed. You will basically be in the same situation and your driving will even be considered dangerous and very unsafe.
How these tie rods fail is pretty simple to explain. Over many miles, the ball joints at the end of the tie rod are losing their grease, and dust or other debris gets inside and eats the metal down. This will result in poor steering capability. In this case, the best thing to do when you are having broken tie rods that are making a popping noise when turning is to replace them with new ones.
Cost To Replace Tie Rods
Tie rods are pretty cheap. In most cases, you will only need to replace the outer tie rods and they cost around $30 to $60 for both of the tie rods ends. These tie rod ends are the components that most often wear down. If you want to replace the whole tie rod with the inner and outer component you are going to pay around $100 to $150 for both sides.
Also, this price is only for the parts. The mechanic will also require cost for the labor and that is going to make the price higher and this job can cost you more than $400 for both sides.
Worn Out Struts
Struts can also wear down and cause all sorts of issues. Struts, like every other suspension component, fail in the same manner. They start to leak hydraulic fluid from the seals.
This is the case because the struts are exposed to a huge amount of stress. This stress is affecting their health and they eventually will start to leak and cause popping noise when turning the wheel.
You can diagnose them pretty easily. You will notice when you drive how the car bounces instead of absorbing the hits from the bumps and potholes. This bouncy ride is going to affect your driving ability and your car will perform very poorly.
Another way you can diagnose worn-out struts is by manually inspecting them. Apply pressure on the side that has bad struts and you will notice how it sinks quickly and bounces back even quicker. It shouldn’t do this.
Another way is to see the strut for possible leaks. Just get a flashlight and turn the flashlight on to see if there are some leaks. Usually, on blown struts, there is a ton of hydraulic fluid leaking on them. Once you diagnosed the problem the next thing to do is to replace them with new components.
Cost to Replace Struts
The cost to replace struts is affordable. They do not cost a lot, but when you have to replace them both the price can add up pretty quickly. For an average car like the Chevy Cruze, they can cost around $150 per side. So, for the two sides, you can expect to pay $300 for the parts alone.
And if you replace them at a mechanic you can expect to pay around $500 if you want them replaced with new ones. They can also cost even more for more expensive vehicles. Everything depends on your make and model.
Damaged Control Arm Bushings
Bad control arm bushings are one of the most common reasons for popping noise when turning to appear in the first place. Along with bad ball joints, they are one of the most frequent reminders when something is wrong with your suspension and it has to be checked. So, if you notice a popping sound coming from one of the front wheels when turning, the best thing to do is to address the problem as quickly as possible.
The control arms are basically holding the wheel in place and do not allow it to move around. If your control arm is busted, your car will probably not be drivable. But fortunately, control arms are one of the hardest components in your suspension. The things that wear off are the bushings.
The bushings are rubber parts that do not allow the metal to rub with the other metal on the frame. These bushings are greased and that’s why they do not create friction. The problem appears when these bushings grease wears off and there is friction buildup in the bushings. And as the bushings wear, the friction gets more and more intense. This then results in popping noise when turning or driving. The only way around this problem is to replace the bushings with new bushings and call it a day.
Cost To Replace Bushings
The cost for the bushings alone is not that expensive and they are going to cost you less than $30 for both sides. But replacing them is a pain. Only removing them is going to take you a few hours. And you will need a press to press them into the housing.
This is a labor-intensive job, especially if you are doing it for the first time. You are probably going to need a whole weekend to get this thing done right. Or, if you decide to take your car to a shop, you cannot expect that this repair is going to be cheap. Mostly because of the hours involved. And will probably going to cost you between $250 to $500 to complete.
Bad Wheel Bearings
Wheel bearings are also another important component in your steering system. The wheel bearings basically allow your vehicle to roll on the road freely.
These bearings are compromised from many steel balls that are lubed. This allows the bearing to spin without an issue and move the car on the road.
The problem with the bearings is that these bearings start to wear off and they can create noise to appear. This noise, if the bearings are too far gone, can be as in our example where there’s popping noise when turning or a squealing sound.
Cost To Replace Bearings
To solve this problem, you will have to replace these bearings with new ones. A new bearing can cost between $50 and $100. They are pretty simple and easy to replace, and this is a good DIY job for those who want to get this sorted out by themselves.
Or, if you want someone else to do this job for you. You can expect to pay somewhere between $250 and $500 to get this job done at a shop. Professional mechanics will take care of this business in just a few hours so it’s not that expensive to do.
Popping Noise When Turning – Conclusion
In this article, we have covered a lot when it comes to the problem with the popping noise when turning. We learned what are the probable reasons why this problem appears in the first place.
And these were the steering rack, steering pump, tie rods, and ball joints, damaged CV joints, and bad bushings. All these components, when they fail, can show some symptoms while you are driving your car on the road. And your job is to read this article and try to troubleshoot the issues and make a thorough inspection of your car’s suspension.
Identifying the problem by yourself will save you thousands of dollars. On top of that, you will avoid getting your car misdiagnosed by incompetent mechanics. Also, you will avoid paying thousands of dollars in the process.
These tools have been tried and tested by our team, they are ideal for fixing your car at home.