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Popping Noise When Turning: What’s Your Car Telling You?

Any sound other than the familiar buzzing of the engine is not good news for the car owners. What about a popping noise when turning the vehicle? Is it alarming? Does this mean you have to splurge money on a repair or replacing a damaged component? Well, any unusual sound from the vehicle is concerning. But, how bad is the single pop noise when turning? Let’s find out. 

pop noise when turning
Several components could be the possible reason.

Popping Noise When Turning – The Possible Causes:

The loud popping noise when turning steering wheel seems to be coming from the wheels, but its root is the steering system. It controls the movement of the wheels so that the vehicle can rotate on the road. So, it is likely to be the source of any problem related to the turning of the car.

The steering system is complicated and it takes the expertise of a professional mechanic to find out the problematic component that triggers the popping noise when turning. But, you can still check these parts that are most likely to be the starting points of that cracking sound.

1. Cracked CV Joint

It could happen if you are driving a front-wheel drive car. The CV (Constant Velocity) joint near the front axle functions as the wrist of the steering system. It allows the shaft the flexibility required for running the suspension and the wheels. If the joint is broken or torn, there will be grease everywhere behind the wheels. It will cripple the axle’s operation and the result will be clicking noises at the time of turning. So if you are a front wheel drive car owner, you may face front end popping noise when turning. A timely fixing will help you save your car.

popping noise when turning
If the joint is broken or torn, there will be grease everywhere behind the wheels.

2. Worn Out Tie Rod

Cars can make a popping noise when turning because of an about-to-break tie rod, which could be dangerous if you don’t find out the trouble and take immediate action. Lift up the corner of your vehicle while holding the wheel at 3 and 9 o’clock positions, and push and pull it. If doing so produces the popping noise in car, the problem is definitely with the tie rod.

car makes popping noise when turning
Cars can make a popping noise when turning because of an about-to-break tie rod

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3. Defective Struts

The struts help the suspension system to cushion the impacts of off-road driving. It also works with spring coils to decrease any incoming shocks. It is a vital part of the suspension system and protects the structure and cabin of the vehicle from the impacts of shocks, bumps, and jerks. Bad struts will not only produce the popping noise when turning but also put the entire suspension system into jeopardy.

loud popping noise when turning steering wheel
Bad struts will not only produce the popping noise when turning but also put the entire suspension system into jeopardy.

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4. Loose Hubcaps

Another possible reason why your car makes popping noise when turning is loose hubcaps. The steering system’s lug nuts have a cover on them (made of plastic or metal) known as hubcaps. If the nuts are loose, the hubcaps will constantly flutter and wobble, creating popping noises. However, the noises will be there whenever you are driving, especially when the car is speeding up, instead of just in the time of turning.

popping on right tire when driving
If the nuts are loose, the hubcaps will constantly flutter and wobble, creating popping noises.

5. Incorrect Tire Inflation

The popping noise when turning could be a regular occurrence when all the tires don’t have the same inflation. It makes the wheels yield popping noise when turning left or popping on the right tire when driving. The good news is fixing this particular problem is easy and inexpensive. Just make sure that all tires have similar specs and design, and the air pressure in them is similar and appropriate.

popping noise in car
The popping noise when turning could be a regular occurrence when all the tires don’t have the same inflation

What To Do If Popping Noise When Turning The Car

The corrective action is needed to fix the popping noise when turning the car. You should take it to a trustful mechanic near you in order to figure out what really happened to your car, what is the reason behind. By that, repairmen will fix the problem with the right method. 

Once it is determined which side the noise is emanating from, the CV Joint located closest to the wheel will probably require service. This usually consists of replacing the entire drive axle which comes with new joints on both ends. An inspection of the CV joint boot on each side may also reveal the defective joint. CV boots are designed to retain the grease in the joint and keep contaminants from entering the joint causing damage. CV boots should be inspected at each oil change and be replaced promptly if cracked, torn or missing. If caught in time, just the boot will require replacement which is more cost effective than replacing the entire axle.

It is similar to other parts of the car which related to the weird sound when turning the car. Make sure you always follow the order, check the car, identify the problem, find the reason behind and fix it.

Common Questions About Popping Noise When Turning Car

We find out that there are many people having problems with popping noise when turning the car. Moreover, people make a mistake when identifying the noise and the reason behind it. Here are some common questions that we received from readers. Check it out!

1. Why is my car making noise when turning left?

It is most likely a failing Constant Velocity joint (CV joint). A CV joint is a special type of universal joint that transmits the rotary power from a shaft through an angle. A failing CV joint can fail catastrophically. This can cause parts to fly around and damage other parts, potentially resulting in a loss of control as steering components get jammed by driveline parts and power fails to be transmitted from the engine to the wheels. It could also be a failing wheel bearing. Bearings shouldn’t be noisy, but when they do begin to fail, the noise can change depending on how force is applied to the wheel and spindle.

front end popping noise when turning
Why is my car making noise when turning left

2. Is it expensive to replace CV joint?

The answer is yes. CV Joint Replacement Cost. A CV joint itself can cost between $95 and $210. Hiring a mechanic to perform a replacement will be between $165 and $800. The price mainly depends on whether you’re replacing a double or single axle.

3. Why is my steering wheel clicking?

If there is a clicking noise coming from right behind your steering wheel that only happens when you turn there you most likely have a bad clock spring.  The clock spring is an electrical connection that allows the buttons on your steering wheel, like your horn or cruise control, to work without having wires directly connected that could get twisted up when you turn your steering wheel.  It’s a small spring on the wheel side that makes contact with an electrical race on the steering column side.  If this spring breaks or gets stuck it will click as you turn your wheel.

popping noise when turning
Clicking noise coming from right behind your steering wheel that only happens when you turn there you most likely have a bad clock spring.

4. Can I replace a loose hubcap?

Yes, you will need to replace it. You may be able to find a replacement hubcap to match the other hubcaps on your car online, at a tire store that carries hubcaps or at the dealership where you purchased your car. First, Pull up the e-brake and park the car somewhere flat and level. Then, turn one lug nut counterclockwise with a lug wrench to loosen it. The next step is take three of the lug nuts off the hubcap, keeping two nuts on opposite sides on the tire and remove the plastic washers from the lugnuts. The fourth is reattaching the three lug nuts, tightening them lightly & unscrewing the other two lugnuts to remove the hubcap. Step five is place the new hubcap onto the bolts and replace the two lug nuts. Then, remove the first three lug nuts, put the washers back on, and screw them in. At last, tighten the lug nuts with the crowbar to ensure a tight fit.

5. Why does my steering wheel make a rubbing noise when turning?

If you are hearing a loud rubbing noise when turning, it is likely that the problem is coming from the upper bearing of the steering wheel column. Another possibility is that the cover on the back of a steering wheel can begin rubbing against the covers on the steering column. This issue is usually more common in the summer months when the weather is warmer causing some car parts to expand due to the heat.

popping noise when turning left
If you are hearing a loud rubbing noise when turning, it is likely that the problem is coming from the upper bearing of the steering wheel column

6. Why is there a ticking noise in my car?

Ticking noises usually don’t come from the steering system or steering wheel in your car.  Ticking noises are usually associated with your engine as there are many moving parts that can tick inside your engine. 

Sum Up

It is all about the popping noise when turning the car. There are five common reasons behind that which you should check carefully. By taking your car to the mechanic, they will help you to diagnose your car problems and give you an absolutely efficient solution. 

Do not forget to read more about maintenance tips so you will know what to do when your car faces troubles.