Car Talk

Car Making a Grinding Sound When Driving: Causes and Fixes

Avatar Adie Tinkle -

Imagine that you are driving your car on the way to work or to manage some chores, and all of a sudden, you start hearing grinding sound when driving and scraping noises that you have never heard before. These noises coming from your vehicle are never a good sign and indicate a serious issue that needs attention. 

While some drivers ignore these sounds to avoid costly repairs, it is never a good idea to do so. If your vehicle is making a grinding sound when driving, it is time to see a mechanic. Leaving warning signs unchecked can cause bigger issues and even impact your safety and the people around you.

Here are five primary reasons why your vehicle is making a grinding sound and what you can do to solve this problem. 

Power Steering Issues 

Through power steering, you can turn your vehicle without applying so much force on the steering wheel. A fluid is used to make the process of turning the wheels less labor-intensive. Though many drivers might not be aware of this fluid, it can be essential for those wanting to make turns easily and safely.

If the car is making a noise when turning, the issue can be related to the power steering system. The power steering fluid is either too old or moderated to allow the vehicle to turn appropriately. The good thing is that you can solve this problem quite easily.

Solution For Power Steering Problems 

Changing the power steering fluid is as simple as changing oil on a vehicle.

  1. You need to know the right fluid for your car by reading the manufacturer’s manual.
  2. Lift the front end of your car using a jack. 
  3. Remove as much fluid as possible in the vehicle. 
  4. By use of a funnel, introduce the new power steering fluid. 
  5. After adding the fluid, start your vehicle and let it run for a minute to remove air bubbles in the system. 
  6. Take your vehicle for a short drive to ensure that everything is working efficiently. 

The Bushing on the Control Arm Might Need a Replacement

While this issue is not that common, it can be a possible cause if you are driving an old vehicle. Bushings are rubber pieces located on the control arm of your vehicle. The role of a control arm is to assist in steering the vehicle while offering stability.

The bushing keeps the metal pieces from scraping against one another and limits vibrations, making your drive smoother.

However, these bushings can wear down over time, resulting in a rougher driving experience. If they become too worn or worn out completely, you can notice grinding noises while turning.

If the bushings do not provide a buffer, the control arm and chassis of your vehicle will come in contact. This will reduce the level of protection, leading to more vibrations and noise when driving.

What is the Solution to Old Bushings?

If the culprit behind the grinding sound when driving is bushings, the best solution is to replace them. Although it is not a very complicated task, it still requires some knowledge and skills, and it is surely not as simple as changing the power steering fluid. 

You can replace the bushings in three ways:

Doing it Manually

Manually replacing the bushings involves a vise and a hammer. This method is difficult and can damage the parts if not done correctly.

Using a Threaded Press

In this method, a ball joint press is used. Though it still requires effort, but it is easier than doing it manually.

Though a Hydraulic Press

This is the easiest yet not-so-common method. For this, you will need assistance from an expert.

The CV Joint Might Be Failing 

If you are tired of the grinding noise when turning your vehicle, the issue might be with constant velocity joints (CV joints). These joints allow power from the transmission of your vehicle to reach the tires. CV joints play a significant role in allowing you to drive safely. 

Each tire has inner and outer joints, and damage to any of these joints can cause your vehicle to produce grinding sounds when you turn. Moreover, you might also notice your car shuddering. 

How to Fix a Failing CV Joint?

Repairing CV joints can be complicated. Not only will you will need the right tools, but you also need to be able to able to remove serval parts to reach the location of the CV joints. To solve the issue, you will most probably need to replace the entire boot that connects to the joint.

After replacing the boot, you can return the brake, axle nuts, and other parts to their proper places. If you have never done that, it is preferable to get assistance from a professional. 

Damage to the Wheel Bearings

Your vehicle has so many soft parts that serve to keep the hard metal pieces in your vehicle separated. Both bushings and CV joints offer this function. 

Wheel bearings are located between the wheels and axles. Their role is to protect against friction and ensure that the front end of your vehicle is able to drive smoothly. 

If the grinding you are hearing when turning the vehicle switches to a whining sound, or you feel like the front tires of your vehicle are less stable, then wheel bearings might be the cause of the issue. 

Solution to Damaged Wheel Bearings

The best way you can resolve grinding noise when turning is by replacing the damaged wheel bearing. However, it can be a complicated process. Just like CV joints, it is not easy to reach out to the location of the wheel bearing. For this, you will have to remove the wheels, brake system, hub, and various other pieces. 

Because of that, it is best to leave the task to professionals, or someone who has proper vehicle knowledge. It is not a task that everyone can handle. 

Wearing Out Brakes 

Wearing out brakes can also be a possible cause of grinding noise. In this scenario, the brake pads that provide a buffer between the rotor and caliper become worn out. Without the pad, both parts create great friction, noise, and damage. Because of this issue, you might notice a grinding sound when driving. It is preferable to get the brakes checked right away if you suspect anything wrong with them, as damaged brakes can be very dangerous. 

Fixing the Brakes in your Vehicle 

Remove the wheel from your car to know what is going on with your brakes. This process is easier than dealing with CV joints or wheel bearings. By removing the wheel, you will be able to get a better look at the brakes. You will need to uninstall the old pieces and replace them depending on the condition of the brake pads and rotor.

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