Steering your Mini requires the use of numerous components, wires, gears, and metal parts. If all these are in perfect working condition, the whole process is seamless without noises or issues. On the other hand, the steering will make odd sounds if there is a problem. If one of them is worn out or damaged, your Mini’s steering will produce a noise, particularly when making tighter turns.
Causes of Steering Noise
When a car makes a groaning or creaking sound as you steer, it indicates a significant problem. Turning your steering involves the use of a steering pinion and the rack. The pinion transmits the steering movement to the rack, which rotates the wheels according to the driver’s action.
While these components will begin to wear down after an extended period of use, adequate lubrication will ensure their longevity. Discussed below are some of the reasons why your steering system is making strange noise:
Tie Rods are in Bad Shape
Tie rods are an important part of the system since they connect the steering arm to the steering rack. The tie rods connect and communicate the steering wheel rotating to the tire. However, when a tie rod end is loose or worn, you may begin to hear a clunking noise as you steer.
Furthermore, worn tie rod ends make it harder to turn the steering wheel and creates a cracking noise. Tie rods are part of the items that drivers should inspect if their car produces a noise when turning.
Sway Bar Link Issues
Unlike tie rods, the anti-roll bar, also known as the sway bar link, is in charge of preventing your Mini from rolling over when turning tightly. It also aids in maintaining wheel stability on the road in corners. If your car makes a strange noise when turning, the sway bar may have fractured or is damaged and needs to be rectified as soon as possible. When turning the wheel, your vehicle will make a knocking noise and also have handling troubles.
Dry Ball Joints
The smooth movement of the suspension control arms and steering knuckles is due to ball joints. It’s critical to keep these joints lubricated. Otherwise, they will dry out and make many cranking noises when in operation.
The power steering fluid is stored in a steering reservoir tank in each car. A filter installed in the tank keeps the fluid clean. The reservoir tank will become blocked if this filter becomes too filled with contaminants. As a result, it would not provide clean power steering fluid to the steering system. When you turn the steering wheel, this will make a noise.
Faulty Power Steering Rack
Each time you spin the wheel, the power steering rack is in charge of sending hydraulic fluid to the steering rack. If your power steering rack is damaged, it will not receive a sufficient supply of this fluid. Every time you turn the wheel, a whining sound will be produced. This sound is most noticeable while turning around corners at low speeds.
Reduced Power Steering Fluid
The power steering pump needs power steering fluid to lubricate the steering rack and enable the driver to operate the steering wheel smoothly. If the reservoir tank or hydraulic lines leak, there wouldn’t be enough power steering fluid going to the steering rack and supplying the amount of pressure needed to turn the wheel smoothly. Turning the wheel will be more difficult, but you will also hear noises. A failed power steering pump is imminent if the amount of power steering fluid drops too low.
An expert mechanic must inspect the power steering rack, pump, belt, tie rods, ball joints, and other components of your steering and suspension system. This mechanic may need to test drive the vehicle to verify the complaint and determine the noise source.
Turning Wrenches: Your Mini Experts!
A cracking sound when turning the steering wheel could be a sign that your suspension system needs lubrication. It could also indicate something more serious, such as tie rod damage, power steering rack damage, or a failing strut/shock, which should be handled only by an expert technician.
At Turning Wrenches, we possess excellent professional mechanics who can inspect your vehicle and determine the underlying cause before making appropriate repairs. We have you covered if you live in Louisville, KY. Please call or visit our shop today to book your next service appointment.
* Mini Cooper Countryman Car image credit goes to: Panama7.