Why Does My Car Squeak?

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 8 months ago

5 min read

  • Diagnostic
Diagnose It Squeaking Noise

WhoCanFixMyCar looks at what makes cars squeak and what you can do to fix it.

A squeaking noise could indicate several different issues, some of which have quick and easy fixes. To help you identify the cause of your car's squeaking, we've put together this guide.

Contents

Why does my car squeak when driving?

Why does my car squeak when turning?

Why does my car squeak when driving slowly?

Why does my car squeak when accelerating?

Why does my car squeak when braking?


Why does my car squeak when driving?

There are two likely explanations.

1. Worn wheel bearings

If you can hear a squeaking or squealing noise coming from your front wheels, there are a couple of likely causes for this, and one is wheel bearing failure. Bearings act as a buffer between the wheel and axle, so the resulting friction causes squealing when they wear out.

Close up of a wheel bearing.

It can be tempting to ignore this noise for as long as possible, but if your wheel bearing goes while driving, it can have disastrous consequences.

Once it breaks, the wheel completely seizes up - this is awful news at any speed, but imagine if you were in a sixty mph zone. The best thing to do is take your car to a garage as soon as possible.

The average cost of a wheel bearing repair job on WhoCanFixMyCar is £257.63.

2. Worn suspension

The suspension system is responsible for absorbing shocks from the road when you drive over potholes and bumps. This job is strenuous and eventually results in components wearing out - when this happens, they may start to squeak.

Suspension repairs

Some of the parts that could be to blame include the shock absorbers, springs, ball joints and bushes - you can find out how they work in our guide to suspension.

Suspension repairs cost £127.40 on average when booked through WhoCanFixMyCar.


Why does my car squeak when turning?

1. Low power steering fluid

If your car squeaks when you turn it, a likely cause is low power steering fluid, which means that parts of the steering system are rubbing together without enough lubrication, making a squeaking sound. There's no need for a mechanic to diagnose this problem - you can check the fluid level yourself

power-steering-fluid

Your owner's manual will contain all the information you need about your car's power steering system, allowing you to locate the reservoir.

Checking your car's fluid levels is an essential part of car ownership, as is regular servicing.

2. Power steering pump

The power steering system consists of the following components:

  • Steering wheel

  • Steering column

  • Steering coupler

  • Steering gear

  • Pump

  • Hoses

If any of these parts wear out, the system will fail, potentially causing the pump to squeak or whine, especially when you try to turn the wheel.

Click here to learn more about how the steering system works.

The average price of power steering repairs on WhoCanFixMyCar is £103.20.

3. Loose or worn steering wheel belt

The steering wheel belt ensures the power steering is accessible to you, the driver. It transfers power from the engine to the steering system and is usually separate from the belt that drives the alternator and water pump.

When it is too loose, you might notice a squeaking sound, and your car may feel more difficult to turn or jerky.

This problem also falls under the bracket of power steering repairs.

4. Worn ball joints or bushings

If the power steering system's ball joints or bushings need replacing, you're likely to experience vibrations in addition to squeaking when you turn. Ball joints can last 70,000 miles or more, but eventually, they wear out.


Why does my car squeak when driving slowly?

If brake pads and discs have been fitted poorly or are worn, they will often cause a squeaking noise when you drive slowly. 

When you push the brake pedal, the calliper clamps around the pad, applying pressure to slow the movement. Your brake pads will get thinner the more you use them; they usually need replacing every 30,000-70,000 miles. The squeaking sound comes from metal moving against metal. 

Brake Pads

If you suspect a mechanic has fitted your brakes poorly or needs to replace them, you can compare quotes with WhoCanFixMyCar.


Why does my car squeak when accelerating?

When accelerating, a loud squeak might signify a loose or worn fan belt (sometimes called a drive belt or V belt). 

Different vehicles have different belt systems - some might have a serpentine belt, while others have multiple smaller accessory belts. These belts are essential in transferring the rotational energy the engine creates to its different parts. They keep your fan, air conditioningpower steering pumpwater pump and alternator working. 

Close up of the fan belt or 'V' belt

If your fan belt is squeaking, this is probably because the rubber belt is slipping on the metal pulley. It's worth carrying out several visual tests yourself to check the condition of your fan belt system to see, for instance, if any cracks have appeared or if any ribs are missing. 

At any sign of damage, the best action is to take your car to a garage to have the fan belt replaced before it breaks completely (and causes considerably more damage).

Fan belts typically last between 60,000-100,000 miles and should be replaced every four or five years to avoid sudden failure.


Why does my car squeak when braking?

Sometimes squeaky brakes can be solved by not braking hard (unless you have to in an emergency!). In other cases, the problem could be more serious.

Read this guide if you're interested in how your car's brakes work.

1. Rusty brake discs

Over time, your brake discs may become rusty, which may cause a squeaking noise due to increased friction. The best way to check whether this problem can be fixed without a complete brake disc replacement - for example, by filing away the rust and debris - is to take your car to a trained professional.

2. Worn out brake pads

If you're driving an older vehicle and experience squeaky brakes, it's probably a sign that you should book your car for a brake pad replacement.

3. New brake pads

Of the three main types of brake pads (semi-metallic, organic and ceramic), metallic pads feature on modern cars. While they're highly effective, they're also prone to making noises such as squeaking.

Brake calipers

Why does my car squeak when driving?

1. Worn wheel bearings

If you can hear a squeaking or squealing noise coming from your front wheels, there are a couple of likely causes for this, and one is wheel bearing failure. Bearings act as a buffer between the wheel and axle, so the resulting friction causes squealing when they wear out.

Wheel bearing image

It can be tempting to ignore this noise for as long as possible, but if your wheel bearing goes while driving, it can have disastrous consequences. Once it breaks, the wheel completely seizes up - this is awful news at any speed, but imagine if you were in a sixty zone! The best thing to do is take your car to a garage as soon as possible.

The average cost of a wheel bearing repair job on WhoCanFixMyCar is £257.63.

2. Worn suspension

The suspension system is responsible for absorbing shocks from the road when you drive over potholes and bumps. This job is strenuous and eventually results in components wearing out - when this happens, they may start to squeak.

Suspension repairs

Some of the parts that could be to blame include the shock absorbers, springs, ball joints and bushes - you can find out how they work in our guide to suspension.

Suspension repairs cost £127.40 on average when booked through WhoCanFixMyCar.


Looking for affordable car repairs or maintenance? WhoCanFixMyCar can help you find the right garage at the right price.

If you found this guide helpful, you might also like: