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Rubbing or creaking sound when turning the steering wheel

Rubbing or creaking sound when turning the steering wheel

Yet another weird steering related noise: sometimes, when I turn my steering wheel while driving slowly, I heard a creaking or rubbing sound.

It's the kind of noise that I'd sometime hear driving other cars, when the wheel was fully cranked coming from the tires. Except the wheel doesn't need to be fully cranked and this doesn't sound like it's coming from the tires (but I obviously cannot be sure about that.) Seems to happen more frequently when the car is cold and hasn't been driven for a while than any other time. I don't know enough about cars to speculate what the cause might be.

So far, it hasn't seemed serious enough to go through the hassle of a service call. But it is getting more frequent and noticeable, so I might do it at some point. It's definitely a strange and out of place sound to hear in the morning while maneuvering out of the garage: kind of makes my car sound like it has arthritis or something.

aperfectecho | September 21, 2018

I have that too. I noticed it just a little bit on the drive home, then my wife drove it and mentioned it. I am pretty sure it is from the housing around the steering column, and I hear it more at low speeds. I will mention it to Tesla, but not a reason alone to bring it in for me.

weluvm3 | September 21, 2018

I have posted a question to Tesla about this. Let's see what they say.

Speedy311 | September 22, 2018

I am also having the same screeching sound but mines coming from the drive side rear tire.

Speedy311 | September 22, 2018

I am also having the same screeching sound but mines coming from the drive side rear tire.

lbowroom | September 22, 2018

Doesn't seem like you're experiencing the same sound.

gballant4570 | September 22, 2018

The sound you've heard in the past isn't coming from tires, it comes from the power steering pump. Manual steering cars never have that sound, or at least I never heard it from the handful of manual steering cars I've owned.

garthc | September 22, 2018

I had something similar. The service center re-torqued the front suspension. That fixed it.

billlake2000 | September 23, 2018

A buffalo has crawled up in the engine compartment and is sleeping on your carburetor

writeonlymemory | October 26, 2018

weluvm3: I'm having the same problem did you get an answer from Tesla?

weluvm3 | October 26, 2018

No, I never got an answer from Tesla. Maybe I need to go to the service center.

Alaskabyclipper | October 26, 2018

I have the same issue, which seems to have started within the last few weeks (car is four months old). I emailed my Orlando service center, which asked for a video clip. Their response was it wasn't anything to worry about, thus didn't need to bring it in. My service dealer is about 2 hrs away so I hope they are right!

weluvm3 | October 26, 2018

I called them, and they made a service appointment for my car in a couple of weeks.

sdklinger | December 6, 2018

I am having the same issue. I got my car about 3 weeks ago and started making that noise about a week ago. Groaning/creaking noise at low speed when taking tighter turns (e.g. backing in/out of parking spaces). Seems worse at cold. I think I made a steering wheel adjustment close to the time the noise started (bringing the wheel closer to my body). Think I'll try re-adjusting the wheel to see if it goes away.

sdklinger | December 6, 2018

FYI - For me - putting the steering wheel back closer to the dash seems to have the resolved the issue for the most part

andrewsjra | December 19, 2018

I too had and still have the issue. I took my car due to the squeaking noise when I turn my steering wheel and they said I needed to have my steering module replaced. That took nearly a week to come in and as I was going to pick up the car, they stated they found an issue with my passenger side airbag. This required replacing the entire seat. They basically had my car for over 4 weeks and after getting my car back the other day, my steering wheel still makes the same noise. I did have my steering wheel extended out so now I just moved it back in. When I did that I heard a noise that sounded like crinkled paper. I might have to chew someone out about this. Unacceptable for a $50,000 car.

calvin940 | December 19, 2018

I have this issue as well. Doesn't seem to have any effect on the steering ability, but because the car is just so darned quiet, I can hear it.

Anyway, doesn't really bother me all that much but I would definitely prefer not to have it.

@weluvm3 did you get any resolution on the issue?

Efeil3600 | December 19, 2018

I had what sounds like may be a similar issue after tesla replaced my airbag assembly in the steering wheel due to a two tone horn/airbag cover. I noticed this sound coming from the steering wheel as I turned the wheel at low speeds in my parking lot. I also happened to notice that if I grabbed the bottom of the horn cover the whole airbag assembly lifted/tilted out of the steering wheel. I took it in for service and they technician immediately knew the issue was due to the bottom of the airbag assembly not being clipped in right. All he did was press on the bottom of the horn/airbag cover and snapped it into place and the sound has been gone ever since.

I hope this may help some of you if it’s the same issue!

weluvm3 | December 19, 2018

I showed the folks at the service center, and they said all Model 3s make that noise.

Jtwo | December 19, 2018

I had that issue and when I took my car to the SC for some other things, they fixed those and the squeaky steering wheel. When I mentioned it, it sounded like they were familiar with it.

andrewsjra | December 19, 2018

My wife got a model 3 when I got mine and hers definitely doesn’t make this noise. I’ve readjusted her steering wheel and can’t replicate the issue. Definitely not something they all have. The only difference between ours is I have the AWD and she has a RWD.

dave999z | December 20, 2018

I just had my car in for service to have my turn signal fixed, which required replacing some steering module column, and now I hear this noise. Basically only hear it in a parking garage or someplace quiet when turning the wheel significantly. But it’s annoying. Car has to go back in next week anyway due to other things they screwed up, so i’ll add this to the list. Uggh.

neylus | December 20, 2018

Had the column housing replaced, fixed the rubbing sound between the wheel and the housing. So much better now.

Sunergy-NJ | December 20, 2018

Similar issue here - when the steering wheel moved in and out, whether for adjustment or easy entry, mine made a rubbing, rumbling noise for about a week. Then it stopped working altogether. The scroll wheel still moves the steering wheel up and down, but nothing but a click for in and out. Brought it to Springfield, turns out the control module failed, scheduled for replacement in just a few days. Fingers crossed.

feng | December 20, 2018

Same issue here. I actually took the vehicle to the service center, but forgot to bring the key card. Technician said the steering wheel bottom needs some oil, nothing to worry about. and I will bring it back to get it fixed when the spoiler is available.

andrewsjra | December 20, 2018

Here’s a YouTube video of someone experiencing the squeaking noise I’m experiencing: https://youtu.be/4j74vrn01YE
Replacing the module didn’t work. Sounds like the steering column but either way it’s annoying.

andrewsjra | December 22, 2018

Feng, keep us posted. Are you referring to the carbon fiber spoiler on the Performance version? If so sites like rpmtesla.com have the same spoiler in both matte and glossy looks.

Michael | December 27, 2018

So... here is my model 3 steering problem. First time I take it in, they have no idea what it is and keep it for a week. I go to pick it up and they told me they adjusted the boot in the steering column. Fixed the problem for a few days then started doing it again, so I made another appointment. Second time I bring it in the guy is like "Oh its the steering module for sure. We can have it done by mid day tomorrow if we have the part." Another week goes by, so I finally get them on the phone. "Car is ready." They never bothered to call and tell me that the car has just been sitting there. So here I show up expecting them to have installed the part that they told me they were putting in, NOPE they adjusted the boot AGAIN but this time they used a lube that was "sure to fix the problem." As soon as I pulled off the lot it was back to making the sound again. Took it right back and told them whatever they did did absolutely nothing. They refuse to rip the car apart and actually solve the issue because its "labor intensive." So now my car is in the shop for a THIRD time. They plan to use "felt tape" to try and fix the problem. My car was there a week and a half this time! I just happened to be in the area and stopped by. "Oh your car is ready. It was done the 21st." IT'S THE 26TH!!! Do they ever bother calling you when your car is ready?? So far the "felt tape" has worked, but who knows how long that will even hold up for. Its only been 24 hours.

Here is the sound it makes... https://youtu.be/hE0UxL1Vza4

Mike UpNorth | December 27, 2018

Do I need to change my screen name?

That sounds like emission mode.

Sparky | December 27, 2018

@michael; :-) definitely.

andrewsjra | December 29, 2018

Wow my steering wheel doesn’t sound anything like that but it squeaks and doesn’t seem normal. I pretty much have had the same issues with the SC. They had my car for a week and replaced the steering module. When I went to get it they discovered an issue with my passenger air bag. Long story short they wouldn’t release the car back to me due to liability and had to replace the whole seat. My car was sitting there for over a month. The car did need to be repainted on the trunk due to some scratches and a chip discovered after delivery. I was out of my model 3 for 4 1/2 weeks. And guess what, the steering wheel still squeaked. I just had the mobile service come to my house yesterday and he took it all apart and adjusted it. Seemed to work but now after driving it this evening the squeak returned. Very disappointed. The guy brought an extra steering wheel he was going to replace but I didn’t want to as I had it wrapped recently. Reaching out to the SC again. Very frustrating.

andrewsjra | January 13, 2019

So I found out what causes the squeaking noise. I ended up going to Fremont service center as I got fed up with Sunnyvale and mobile service. The guy told me it’s a rubber grommet that is further down the steering column that needs more oil. He has dealt with this in the past and knew right away. I’m glad I finally found a service center that could solve the issue. Unfortunately the appointment I have is scheduled for the 25th but was able to get a rep to check my car briefly when I stopped by. Just glad it’s not a major issue.

ridacl | February 1, 2019

Thank you so much for posting the difference between the Sunnyvale and Fremont center, as when I took my X in for this very issue to Sunnyvale they told me, "It's normal. All Xs have this." But it just started a few weeks ago, and my X is nearly 3 years old. They wouldn't do anything. I'm going to take it to Fremont instead. It's so loud that people OUTSIDE my car can hear it, and it's very annoying inside as well.

rand889 | June 19, 2019

i have the same squeaking issue. the service center replaced the steering module but it didn't fix it. i noticed that the position of the steering column up/down has an impact on the loudness of the squeaking sound. for me it's mostly turning right from center and not turning left from center.

Sandman89 | August 20, 2019

I have the similar noise and I try to have suspension on standard but it did not do anything.In fact with standard the noise increases and dampen down little if I put the suspension at low.I will take it to service center.

yuwangsf | September 3, 2019

I took my car in for service today due to the same issue.

Service advisor acknowledged that it's a known issue, which sometimes happens if the weather is too cold or too hot.

They will need to disassemble and apply lubricant. I think anyone who experience this problem should try to schedule a service.

yuwangsf | September 3, 2019

I took my car in for service today due to the same issue.

Service advisor acknowledged that it's a known issue, which sometimes happens if the weather is too cold or too hot.

They will need to disassemble and apply lubricant. I think anyone who experience this problem should try to schedule a service.

PECo CT | September 3, 2019

@Michael

I apologize, but I laughed when I heard the sound your steering wheel makes in your video.

I think that there are two different types of sounds being discussed here; the hilariously squeaky one that Michael has suffered and one that's external to the cabin of the car. I have THAT one. I think it might be something in the front suspension or from rust accumulation on the rotors. It's amazing how fast that can form.

Whatever it is, it doesn't bother me. I haven't noticed it happening after I hit the road.