Why Is There a Whining Noise When the Steering Wheel Is Turned?

When there is a problem with the power steering system, a high-pitched whine will be heard. The steering system will need to be properly diagnosed to find the root of the problem.

Causes of a Steering Wheel Whine

Power-steering systems use hydraulic fluid to steer the wheels on a vehicle. When there is a problem with this system, its steering rack, belt or pump will make noise. The noise can eventually lead to rough turns and a damaged steering system. Listed are common issues that cause whining noise in a steering system.

Worn Belts

Worn belts are the usual culprit when there is a whining noise present. To check the belt, inspect the tension. If too tight or loose, the belt will whine when spinning. Also check to see if the ridges of the belt are worn. Worn ridges will cause the belt to slip while spinning, which can also contribute to the noise.

Air in the System

Another cause for whining noise is air in the steering system. When there is air in the steering hoses, hydraulic fluid does not flow correctly through the system. This results in rough steering and whining noises. To repair this, bleed the power steering system and replace the fluid.


A failing pump will not push the hydraulic fluid through the system. This will make it difficult to turn and will sometimes cause the pump to whine, as it may be low on fluid.