1999 Chrysler Sebring Steering making sqeaking noise

Tiny
STUMPED1
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 CHRYSLER SEBRING
Drive Train Axles Bearings problem
1999 Chrysler Sebring 6 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 159xxx miles

A loud sqeaking, almost grinding sound which is also very dry sounding is coming from the driver side just inside the tire & wheel. Whether the engine is running or not, when the steering wheel is turned in either direction the noise is quite annoying. It just started this week as has gotten progressively louder in that short period of time.

BTW I am asking this for my Son-in-Law who knows nothing about mechanics and I will have to help him. Or I'll hire a friend who is a mechanic on the side.

Thanks for your help. I hope this is not dangerous to drive. Would appreciate any help you can offer.
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Saturday, April 11th, 2009 AT 9:41 AM

2 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
From your description, I would expect to find binding upper strut mounts. You might find one possible clue by placing your fingertips around one of the upper loops of the right front coil spring while someone turns the steering wheel back and forth. The mount at the top of the spring supports the weight of the vehicle and has a ball bearing assembly in it to allow easier turning. It's common to feel a little roughness or minor jerking. Now do the same thing on the left side and compare how it feels. Chances are you will find much more binding and stiffness than on the right side.

It's not dangerous to drive but you should understand what "memory steer" is. The binding mount will release and turn easier while driving due to the car bouncing up and down over bumps in the road. As the binding gets worse, it will cause the steering system to want to stay where it is placed by the driver. After turning, the steering wheel will lose its tendency to want to return all the way to center by itself.

It's also helpful to understand that the upper mounts can be defective without presenting any unusual symptoms. They can allow the strut to wobble which affects tire wear and life, and the bearings can fall apart during normal strut replacement. It is common to find bad mounts when the assembly is removed for strut replacement. The result is you will be asked to spend more money than you expected for strut replacement and alignment. Service advisors hate approaching customers with the need for additional unexpected work and cost, so often they will quote the mounts in the strut replacement repair estimate. They would rather surprise you with a final bill significantly less than the estimate so they can earn your repeat business. The downside to this is that to be safe, one shop may quote you a higher price than the guys down the road, so you should be sure to ask what parts and labor the entire repair includes.

With the mileage on your vehicle, this would be a good time to consider replacing the struts if the upper mounts do indeed need to be replaced. Anytime the strut assemblies are removed, the vehicle will need a four-wheel alignment. You will save pennies by not replacing the struts at the same time as the mounts, but you'll spend dollars later to replace the struts and have a second alignment.

Caradiodoc
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Saturday, April 11th, 2009 AT 10:52 PM
Tiny
STUMPED1
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I have to say I won't know if this is the problem until I try your suggestion, but that is about as complete an answer as anyone could hope for. I cannot thank you enough. However even if this is not the problem, I'd like to thank you by offering you any print of your choice, as I am a photographer

Please restrict your choice to an 8x10" as I will be able to print this out myself and avoid commissions and extra shipping charges through the site.

I'll see my S-I-L sometime today so my hope is that we can try your suggestion. Have no idea what strut & bearing replacement will cost but certainly I feel somewhat relieved that this may not be an immediate safety hazard. If this is the problem though I'd like to get it taken care of very soon.

Thanks very much caradiodoc
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Sunday, April 12th, 2009 AT 10:05 AM

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