2001 Xterra - noisy turns

My 2001 Xterra with 75K miles on it makes a very loud creaking sound when the sterring wheel is turned, especially when it is cold.


This is likely to be a bushing in the steering column or in the front suspension, both of which are annoying but not dangerous.

However, in case the noise is actually coming from the ball joints–which would be a significant safety problem–I suggest that you park your truck overnight at the mechanic’s place and have him listen to it in the AM to determine exactly where the noise is emanating from.

Dry bushings can be helped–temporarily–with some lubrication.
Ball joints that are making noise must be replaced.

“Ball joints that are making noise must be replaced.”

This is very true. Some ball joints are designed to become noisy when they wear out to alert the driver they need to be replaced. Some people are in the practice of using a needle to inject grease into the dust boot to quiet them down. This is a bad idea because it can easily be forgotten about, resulting in a ball joint failure and likely an accident. If the noise is coming from your ball joints, and someone offers to grease them to shut them up, insist on replacing them. It costs more, but will prevent a catastrophic failure.