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trypaw's avatar

What is this squealing noise from my car?

Asked by trypaw (327 points ) February 14th, 2013

Hello,
On my 98 Dodge Stratus 2.4. I have just recently encountered this squealing while I am turning my steering wheel for a sharp turn. I fist noticed it after a car wash and some driving around. I had pulled into a parking space and head the noise (hours after car wash) even cruising around the parking lot going over small dips or bumps I hear something from my front lower end it seems like the same-ish noise, just not as present as when I make a sharp turn. It sounds like its coming from my front passenger side(although not totally sure). I have checked so far; my shocks, struts, power steering hose/fluid, and all is okay there. Any ideas on what this is? I went to a mechanic and he said it sounded like a plastic sound rubbing against something? But to me it sounds more like a high pitched squeal/moan. Even pulling into my driveway it squeals and moans over the radio. This sound is also more present the slower I am going, and the sharper turns I take rather than wide turns. Any ideas or suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thank-you!

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18 Answers

Unbroken's avatar

Welcome to Fluther.

Well normally I would say check to make sure there is nothing stuck in between the braked pad or hanging.

An broken axle might have a similar issue. But it is usually more then a noise and it is a bit scary.

I would maybe get a new mechanic if you had a good one he wouldn’t just say maybe there is plastic hanging down. He would check it out to make sure none was.

trypaw's avatar

@rosehips Thank you for your advice and welcome :) I did just get my brakes checked a couple weeks ago but I can check them again. You have a good point about my mechanic as well, I am in the process of finding someone else, its just so hard in my town full of Midas, and random auto shops… Scary out here, haha.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@trypaw I was assuming he checked out the power steering belt, but now I’m not so sure. If the belt isn’t tight enough it will squeal when you turn the wheel. It could also be a wheel bearing, but they don’t usually squeal. How many miles on the car?

trypaw's avatar

156k on my car but very well kept condition, and I know my passenger wheel bearing is going to go out sometime, but I don’t think the symptoms I’m experiencing quite match up with it unless maybe I am wrong and it could be my wheel bearing?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

They don’t usually squeal, more of a rougher noise, especially when you turn.

trypaw's avatar

I guess it is a kinda rough, grinding noise, more than a squeal but I still sorta hear a squeal in it, if that makes sense.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

That sounds like a really bad bearing. Try to get it fixed soon.

dabbler's avatar

The original description sounds like the power steering belt as @Adirondackwannabe noted.
If it’s a bearing I wouldn’t expect squeak or squeal sounds, but grinding does go along with bearing problems.

SamandMax's avatar

Hmm..odd this one, because at the mention of that kind of noise, I immediately thought fan belt.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

At first I thought it could be the belt, the engine belt that makes the engine run, but I don’t know about the turning corners part but I had a belt one time that screamed so bad my dad used to spray it with WD40 every morning until I was able to afford to fix it. But then it did’nt want to wait for me and one day on my way home from work…well basically imagine when the belt on your vacuum breaks, the smoking, the rubber smell. Ack ack And if you dont pull over and stop your car your engine could seize.

Let us know when you find out, I wish you well with it.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Sounds like the power steering pump may be going bad. The hose and fluid might be fine, but the squealing comes in when the pump is going out.

Could be a loose serpentine belt as well, especially if it’s louder when you first crank the car up from cold. If not, I’d lean more toward my first guess.

filmfann's avatar

Definitely the power steering belt. It may just be wet, or it could be slightly out of alignment. Since you mentioned the car wash, my bet is it is wet. Don’t freak. Give it a day or two, and if it still makes noise, have a mechanic look at it, but it should be okay.

jerv's avatar

Hard to say without actually hearing it, but the power steering system is definitely to blame, and most likely the belt as that it the most common failure.

Take it from somebody who doesn’t have power steering that it’s harder to turn at low speeds than at high; low speed turns make the power steering work harder, which would make it louder, so that part is no surprise.

I used to be able to tell a Ford from up to 75 feet away merely by the whine of the power steering pump, but that is more of a high hum in the mid-range than the high-pitched squeal of a slipping belt. Then again, you point out a rough grinding sound as well, which points more towards the pump, or possibly even the rack.

The last wheel bearing i had go out sounded more like a singing wine glass at high speeds than anything that qualifies as “rough” or “grinding”. As for pump bearing… well, that is grinding and rough… and a non-trivial repair.

trypaw's avatar

Thanks everyone for your answers, my car is at the shop I hope they find out what it is, thanks for the ideas!

jayweaver88's avatar

I know exactly what it is. I have the same car, same motor. Its the power steering pump! Guarantee!

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

Well? What was it? Update us!

trypaw's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl It was the ball joint on my passenger side, oddly. It started getting so bad it almost sounded like grinding when I was turning, but yep! It was definitely the ball-joint!

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

Thanks for the update!

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