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Rubbing Noise While Driving – What Is It?

BY: Alex Perrone
Mechanic fixing a car engine

Picture this: your car’s steering wheel makes a strange and loud rubbing noise when you make a turn. Perhaps you have noticed that this only seems to happen on a hot day. Since we are in the fall and hot days are few and far between but still around, maybe you’ve noticed that the sound is getting a lot worse. And yet every time you take the car to the shop, they cannot recreate the sound because of the cooler environment.

So what is wrong with your car? The truth is that it could be any number of things, most of which you don’t really have to worry about. But we will go through the more than likely causes of this noise and tell you how to diagnose these issues yourself. Remember to always use a trusted mechanic to make any needed repairs on your vehicle, this will ensure expert work is performed correctly and fully. The most likely causes of the rubbing sound should be:

Check the Steering Column’s Upper Bearing

Over time, the steering column’s upper bearing of your vehicle will wear out. When this happens the plastic that is used as backing on the steering wheel rubs against it. More specifically, the plastic of the steering wheel rubs directly against the plastic cowling that is located on the upper bearing of the steering column. Why does this only happen on hot days? In hot water, all the little molecules in your car, especially the plastic, expand. When the plastic expands that is what pushes the plastic that normally wouldn’t be rubbing up against each other to do so.

Check Your Car’s Multi-Function Switch

Another possibility is that your car’s multifunction switch is loose. Or at the very least is loosening in hot weather. That is that long toggle that controls your directional signals, the headlights and the wipers. It may in fact be rubbing up against the steering wheel on a hot day.

car inspector

Have your Car inspected, Just in Case

That rubbing noise in your car when you steer is not a big red flag in and of itself. Even still, you should still have the car checked by a professional mechanic. The trick is to get them to hear it. So in the case of the next time you start hearing this noise, try to get to a shop so they can hear it before you turn off the ignition.

There May Be Nothing Seriously Wrong With Your Car

Should the mechanics you had take a look at your car confirm that nothing serious is going on with your car you can actually fix this yourself. Here’s what you need: a large apron and a can of silicone spray. This is what you do: when you start hearing the noise, stop and pull over. Then you take the can of silicone spray and spray in the little gap between the steering wheel and steering column. The noise should go away instantly, granted that was the source.

If the Noise doesn’t Go Away, Take it Back to the Shop

mechanic repairing car in shop using wd40 to reduce noise

Should that trick not work, be prepared to take the car back to the shop. This may cost you actual money because what will happen is the mechanics will actually detach the steering wheel to take a gander at the steering column. Then they may try their own silicone spray.

If the mechanics you’ve contacted still find nothing wrong, and yet the noise persists only on hot days, there’s, unfortunately, nothing you can really do. Your best bet is actually to just try to ignore it and turn on the radio if it really bothers you. Chances are it will go away when things cool off.

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