Car Questions
RepairPal is your advocate for car care advice and guidance

Why does steering make noise when I turn?

(2004 Volvo XC90)
in Denver, CO on August 24, 2009
While driving, when I turn at speeds greater than 20mph my steering makes a groaning sound. Usually has to be a somewhat sharp turn. Am thinking it may be the cv joint...but not really that car savvy. What do you think this could be and how much to fix? Thank you. PS-Power steering fluid levels are fine.
Displaying 11 answers & 7 comments
Popular Answer
on April 08, 2014
I had the same problem on my V70T 2002. First I was told it was the rack and pinion - replaced it. Not fixed. Then told it was the power steering pump - replaced it. Not fixed. Then I had the power steering reservoir replaced - FIXED IT. It turns out the inlet pipe reaches down and sucks from the bottom. When this pipe breaks the system gets a lot of air When you remove the reservoir you will hear something rattling around
on April 03, 2010
It sounds to me like the most likely cause of your problem would be a power steering pump problem.
on July 25, 2014
The groaning is from the friction of the steering column shaft when it rotates against/inside the rubber through floor gasket as it goes through the floor to the steering gear. Happened on my 03 XC90 at about 110K miles. Put some silicone lube (<$5 for an ounce tub at Ace Hardware) on the steering column shaft where it touches the rubber gasket and the sound disappears. To get access to the gasket, remove driver seat carpet pad. Move the driver's seat all the way back. Unclip left and right floor level trim so that you can up and back on the carpet from the front. You only need to pull back enough to reveal the rubber through floor gasket. Pull back carpet from from front firewall to reveal black rubber gasket through which the steering column goes. This gasket is clamped to the metal lip of the floor hole by a wire clamp. Squeeze clamp ends by hand to release the clamp. Slide the gasket up the steering column shaft. Lube the shaft. Slide the gasket back down and rotate a few times to spread lube and observe sound disappears. Reverse to reinstall gasket and carpet. You might end up breaking a trim clamp at the front of the floor level door trim pc. Get a set from volvo, install and reset the trim pc. This works amigos. Best!
on August 27, 2009
A failing cv joint will generally make a clicking noise when turning, or cause a vibration. Can you describe in more detail where the noise is coming from? Do you feel any vibrations? Does it happen when turning in either direction?
on August 27, 2009
Here is what I would do. Go down to the local Volvo Dealership and talk to the service advisor, tell them you are concerned about this steering problem, and you wonder if someone could go for a quick test drive so that you can demonstrate the noise and see if it needs to be addressed. They may or may not be able to send someone for a ride, but we did it often at places I've worked. If this has happened on other XC90s, then these dealer tech have probably experienced it, and may know right away what the problem is. Good Luck!
on August 27, 2009
Let me know if they end up finding anything. Make sure to ask the mechanic if they checked for any recalls or service bulletins regarding this problem!
on August 27, 2009
It is not a clicking noise. More of a groaning noise. It feelis like it coming from the steering coulumn and it makes this noise when I am sitting in traffic not moving and I turn the wheel. It makes this noise when I turn either direction. And to reiterate- I feel vibrations coming from the steering wheel when I turn and the car makes this noise. To add another interesting caveat it doesn't make this noise consistantly when the car is not moving and I turn the wheel. Only sometimes. However, it always makes the noise and vibrations when I make a sharper turn going at speeds greater than 20 mph.
on August 27, 2009
Thanks Bret! I have just been recommended to a good mechanis. I am taking it in on Monday. I will never use the local Volvo dealer again. I went for a fluid change that ended up costing almost 500.00. I could have gone to Jiffy Lube for 100.00
on January 06, 2010
I have a 2003 Tracker and my left wheel makes a groaning noise when I turn to the left. I took it to a mechanic two weeks ago and he said it was the rack and pinion on my front left tire that needs to be replaced. He said it would cost $800.
on June 17, 2010
Did U have it done? I'm having the same problem with a 2005 Equinox.
on April 02, 2010
if it is a whining sound it is either low on fluid or you have a pump,rack and pinion problem. If it is a grinding ,clicking sound it is probably a cv joint.
on August 05, 2010
its probably not a problem, its just the hydraulic pressure from such a sharp turn. The hydraulic fluid builds up pressure, causing the pipes to vibrate, which is the groaning you hear
on April 09, 2010
tighten the belts
on April 29, 2010
It sounds like the Power Steering Pump is going. If you turn the wheel to the full directions each way (find a parkinglot that's empty) while traveling at 20-30MPH and it starts groaning or something similar to that, then the pump is either cavitating or seizing up. You will get vibrations to the wheel as it gets worse.
on May 15, 2010
Check your steeringgear fuel, when this is low/empty the steeringwheel makes that kind of noice.
on December 12, 2010
are you sure you're not low on hydraulic steering fluid? I had the *exact* same issue on my '04 XC90 and it turned out to be low SF.
on March 12, 2013
My 2008 xc90 makes the same groaning noise, but only in the morning when I turn the wheel. Once the car gets warmed up, no noise.

on September 07, 2013
I have the same problem... morning groaning noise. Did you solved a problem and how? Thanks in advance...
RepairPal estimates are guaranteed at over 2,000 quality certified locations nationwide. Learn more

Similar Questions

View answers to similar questions from RepairPal's community of auto experts and enthusiasts.
i was getting my brakes bleeded in my friend did it the lazy way by turning my steering wheel with engine on , so he ...
Didn't find what you were looking for?