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1997 Saturn SL2 Steering Column Noise

Just bought a 97 Saturn SL2 with 104K miles. Every time I start the car and turn the wheel to drive away, as soon as I straighten the wheel I hear a noise that sounds like a plastic piece falling into place. The noise is under the plastic cover of the steering column right behind the steering wheel. It only does it once and will not do it again till the next time I start the car. It does the exact same thing every time. Any ideas what this might be?

The noise is probably coming from the clockspring in your steering column. Does your horn work? Do all the functions of your multi-function switch work? Lights, turn signals, and wipers? Do you have an airbag light on?

Everything you asked about is working correctly. What is a clockspring, and how would I check it? Thanks!

The clockspring allows you to have electrical contact with components (horn for example) while the steering wheel is turned 360 degrees. The airbag is involved so I don’t recommend removing the steering wheel as a DIY job.