Grinding from front wheels when turning

  • 4 CYL
  • 134,000 MILES
I have had the brakes and calipers replaced on the front wheels of the car within the last twelve months because there was a grinding noise whenever I applied the brakes.

Now, that issue has been resolved but when I make a turn there is a grinding noise again (mostly on the left front side). Whether I have the brakes applied or not.

A friend told me it might be the tie rods. I have also been told I should have an alignment done after the work.

My question is, what should be the average cost for replacing the tie rods and should I also get an alignment? I am trying to figure out whether this will break my bank or not or whether I can safely delay this work and if my car will pass Texas inspection without it.

Do you
have the same problem?
Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 AT 12:49 PM

1 Reply

If you are going to rely on the advice of friends, you need to get new friends, and I am here!

Tie rod ends do not and can not make a grinding noise. They are part of the steering linkage that join each front wheel to the rest of the steering system. There is an inner and an outer tie rod end on each side. They are connected to each other in such a way that each linkage is adjustable in length. The final step in any alignment is to put the steering wheel perfectly straight, then those linkages are adjusted very precisely to make each front wheel straight. That is why an alignment is needed when any of the four tie rod ends is replaced, and when anything is done that affects the other alignment angles.

Since the steering linkages and suspension components do not rotate or move very much, they do not cause noises associated with that type of movement. They do have joints that allow the parts to move up and down, and left and right, as designed, but those joints must be tight enough to hold the wheel in perfect alignment while goes through its motions. When those joints become worn and sloppy, they can cause a clunking or thumping noise. The people at tire and alignment shops are experts at finding the causes of those types of noises, and they know how to "read" the abnormal tire wear patterns that result from those worn parts. If clunking noises are ignored, it can lead to a part separating, and loss of steering control and a crash. Some cars are real susceptible to that and are involved in a lot of lawsuits. Other brands have fewer problems.

Grinding noises are caused by things that are spinning. That means brake rotors, wheel bearing assemblies, CV joints and drive shafts, and tires. Noisy wheel bearings are real common on front-wheel-drive cars. With some types of bearings, a clue can be found by steering slightly to one side, such as when changing lanes, at around thirty five mph. The noise will get louder when the car's weight shifts to that side. A noisy right front bearing will get real quiet when turning slightly to the right because the weight transfers to the other side. That pertained to older Chrysler products.

GM cars use a different type of bearing assembly. It is much more expensive but it is easier to replace. The problem with this design is it is usually impossible to tell which side is noisy on a test-drive. The noise does not change when turning slightly, and the noise from one side can transmit through the body and sound like it's coming from the other side. There are other ways to identify the noisy bearing in the shop.

You did not specify at what speeds the noise occurs. There is a different type of grinding noise that can occur while turning the steering wheel while the car is standing still.
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Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 AT 2:49 PM

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