Why Does My Car Make a Popping Noise When I Turn?

The most common reason for popping noises heard while making a turn is a defective or wornout constant velocity joint. The driver might only notice the popping sound while making turns in a specific direction or when the turn is especially tight. The CV joint pivots with the turn of the vehicle’s wheels, so a loosening of the joint might only be noticeable when the wheel is turned all the way to the right or left.

Sometimes a popping noise during a turn is related to the steering linkage, which can wear out with age or suffer slow leaks. This issue may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as difficulty turning the wheel or a vibration in the steering wheel.

Worn or obstructed brake pads can also create popping noises while turning a corner. If a pebble or piece of dirt is caught between the brake pad and the rotor, the driver might hear a clicking or popping sound.

In some cases, the popping noise and the act of turning are mistakenly linked. For example, drivers must slow down before they make a turn, so the engine noise is not as likely to disguise unfamiliar sounds. If the CV joints and brake pads are all in good working order, the driver might want to investigate potential problems with power steering, engine temperature, shocks or struts, all of which can generate popping sounds.