steering noise when turning???


Old 02-25-12, 02:28 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: usa, nc
Posts: 252
steering noise when turning???

Hi... I am trying to purchase a used car for my 17 yr old son, I was looking at a chevy cavalier today that looks in good shape clean no dents ,paint job looks good, and almost like new inside. Engine looks nice and clean, no visible oil leaks or none accumulated on the engine. The car has 158,000 miles on it. The only problem i can find is when turning the wheel it makes a clicking like noise. It does not do this just driving straight down the road, only when turning the wheel left or right. The mans asking 2700.00 for the car but i would like to know what this is before buying it. The man said he did'nt think it was anything much, but i do not want to spend a bunch of money on it after buying it....anyone any ideas ......thanks
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Old 02-25-12, 03:29 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: U.S.A.
Posts: 373
Is it a loud clicking noise, or just a faint clicking noise. And is it once for every turn of the wheel. It could just be the turn signal cancel hook.
Old 02-25-12, 03:46 PM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 30
I started out with the same situation with my 1990 Dodge Caravan. Initially, it didn't seem like a big deal. I couldn't see a power steering fluid leak but later noticed it was losing it nonetheless. Despite keep the fluid up, it gradually became worse, to the point of the steering wheel became difficult to turn. Turns out, the rack and pinion needs to be replace and it's an expensive repair, around $600 give or take. Not sure this is the same problem with the Cavalier but it sounds like it could be. If it is, it's also a dangerous condition to continue driving under.
How old is this vehicle?
No offense but $2700 sounds a little steep to me for a car with that much mileage and if it's less than 10 years old, even more so. I've found it pays to divide the mileage by the vehicle's age to determine whether it's been driven hard or at about the national average of 10,000 mile per year. Example: 158,000 divided by 10 years (age of auto) equals 15,800 per year average. Not bad but not great either.
Not to scare you but I once test drove a brand new Cavalier and the brakes went out during the test drive, then smoke started rising out from under the hood. Later, I paid a visit to our local automotive salvage yard and discovered that nearly half the yard was filled with wrecked Cavaliers. Can't say that it came as a shock either after the test drive, lol.
Bottom line: If your gut instincts and all else tells you it's good deal, go one step further and have a mechanic do a buyer's inspection to insure your peace of mind that you're looking at the right car for your 17 year old. Used to cost around $35.00, might be a little more now. Regardless, I'd think it worth the cost.
Good Luck
Old 02-25-12, 04:58 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: usa, nc
Posts: 252
sorry for not giving the yr model, its a 2001. the noise it makes sounds like its coming from straight down the drive column maybe just outside the firewall under the hood. Kinda hard to tell with it sitting on the lot, would like to get it on a lift to get agood look. but the sound is a low pitch noise kind of like maybe if something was in a bind or somethig, or maybe a scrubbing noise, but it does this whether the car is moving or not just by turning the steering wheel. also the noise is faint because i had to get in the car to hear it.
Old 02-25-12, 05:47 PM
ukrbyk's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
Posts: 3,301
strut spring slipping on strut tower plate. if strut was replaced, and spring was not re-set right, it'll do it. no bog deal, just annoyance.
that's about what they cost
Chevy Cavalier 2001 Power everything!

personally, at that mileage, you buy Honda, Nissan, or Toyota. Maybe genuine Mitsubishi, as we had 3 of those that ran into high 200s without any issues.
Old 02-25-12, 08:07 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,051
It may be something that will go away with a power steering fluid change or it may at some point need a new pump. It could be a small issue with the bellows boots and the breathing tube that runs between them (left and right) leaking or having one side come off even. I could be something with the steering rack, or even the column. Impossible to know without seeing and hearing the car. For $2700 the car is what it is, which for the money and the overall condition is not that bad in my opinion. If you have more to spend I also would suggest a used Japanese car with the same mileage, but for $2700 you may get a fairly easy next 50,000 miles on this Cavalier. Who knows? If you can get the price lower all the better. Not sure what motor is in the car but if it is a 2.2, this engine is a pretty good motor and came out of GM Europe/Adam Opel where they would run all day on the Autobahns. Alot of the small GM products seemed to have their most troublesome life during their first 5 to 7 years for their first owners which is the opoposite of the Japanese products. This could be the case with this car also. Lots can go wrong after 150K also, like fuel pumps, alternators, and so forth, but your talking $2700. Alot of people buy up these kinds of cheap Cavaliers and Sunfires for their children's college car for instance or first car as in your case. Parts are also fairly cheap compared to the same age Japanese products also. That maybe also something to consider.
Old 02-27-12, 04:00 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Floriduhhhhh Us of A
Posts: 611
Have someone stand outside and listen to the strut plates as you turn the wheels back and forth.....If the noise is predominantly INSIDE the cab, be advised G.M. has had problems /bulletins on their steering column couplers dating back to Citation
Old 03-09-12, 08:50 PM
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 5
you need the CV joints replaced.

This is very common on front wheel drive cars, especially ones that have had little maintenance.

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