There are countless reasons behind grinding noises when driving – but grinding noises at slow speeds often happen because of a worn out constant velocity joint. You could also have issues with your transmission or wheel bearings.
Okay, before I break down what could be behind that grinding noise, a little piece of advice.
Driving with a worn out constant velocity joint is extremely dangerous. You could end up losing control of your car if it completely breaks while you’re driving. So, when in doubt, take your car to the repair shop right away.
Other possible issues (such as transmission problems or wheel bearing issues) are also complicated. All I’m saying is, a grinding noise when turning is not to be taken lightly.
Sure, read down below and find out what it is. See if your mechanic agrees. By all means, take the car to a repair shop as soon as possible.
What’s causing the grinding noise when I turn?
Worn out CV joint
The most likely culprit behind grinding noises when you turn at slow speeds is a worn out constant velocity joint.
If you don’t know what a CV is, let me explain. It’s the one thing that gives power to the front wheels and, at the same time, controls them.
So, if you have a worn out CV joint, you may hear a grinding noise as you turn while you slow down.
I’m going to go through other possible options. You may hear that noise when you slow down or when you turn – but not both at the same time (even though you think you do).
If you’re 100% sure the noise happens when you turn at slow speeds, it’s the CV joint. That means you need to go to a mechanic right away.
A worn out CV makes noises, but a broken CV will prevent you from driving the car.
Here things get a little tricky. You may hear a grinding noise when you’re making a turn – but that may not be the problem by itself.
Instead, you may hear the grinding noise when you’re slowing down, right before you make the turn. In that case, you probably have a problem with your brakes.
The brake pads are the first thing to give out in your car, so they may be worn out and in need of a replacement.
How can you check if you have broken pads? Hit the brakes! If you hear a grinding noise, they’re the culprit.
Now, it could also be the brake rotor – but if I had to bet, I’d say it’s the brake pads.
If you don’t hear anything when you stop, but you do when you turn left or right, there’s something else you need to check.
Wheel bearing issues
Wheel bearings prevent the axle and the wheel from touching each other. Once they get worn out, they stop doing their job properly – and that may be the reason behind the grinding noises you hear.
How can you check if your wheel bearings are going bad? Simply turn left, then turn right. Of course, do so while you drive!
Now, you should hear a grinding noise either when you turn left or right – but not at both times. It’s highly unlikely for you to have two worn out wheel bearings at the same time.
You have to pay attention, though. You should hear this noise when you turn left or right, no matter the speed. Otherwise, that’s not it.
Faulty clutch and/or transmission
There’s a small chance you’re having transmission issues, and that’s why you’re hearing grinding noises when you slow down and make a turn.
Why do I believe so? Well, it’s simple. Similar to the brake example, you hear the noise as you turn – but turning is not the culprit.
The transmission makes a noise – but you’re switching gears right before you turn, so you mistake one for the other.
I’m not saying this is 100% what’s happening. It could be, though.
Worn out brake pads or a faulty CV is more likely to be the problem. If you have healthy brake pads and a perfectly functioning CV, then it’s a good idea to check your transmission.
As I’ve said, you probably have a CV joint issue if you hear a grinding noise when you turn at a low speed, brake trouble if you hear that noise when stopping, and so on and on.
What if everything checks out? It’s highly unlikely, but still a possibility.
You could have a problem with your wheels, there may be something loose in your brakes, or you could have an electrical issue both you and I are overlooking.
I know people that heard a grinding noise when driving and fixed it – by repairing their AC!
My point is, sure, I’ll try and guide you in the right direction. What you have to do is pinpoint the problem or ask a professional to do it for you.
Don’t get upset if you can’t find where the noise is coming from!
Ask the guy at the repair shop what went wrong if you’re curious to learn. I know I asked plenty of questions to know about this stuff.
Should I drive if I hear a noise when I turn?
A noise coming from your car is never a good thing. In fact, hearing a sound is always a warning sign when it comes from your car. In this scenario, continuing to drive could be the wrong choice to make.
It may be something small, and you may get away with driving for a while. It could also be something bad, and you may do serious damage to your car by disregarding the noises.
The best thing you can do when you hear a noise is to keep driving – straight into the repair shop. Let a mechanic check things out and fix whatever needs fixing.
You’ll be on your way soon, safe and sound!