'98 Ford Ranger - makes a squeaky/screechy noise when turning the wheel

I have a 1998 Ford Ranger with 252,000 miles on it. In the past month it has been making a weird squeaky screechy noise when I turn the wheel. It sounds like it is coming from the steering column, but I am not sure. It makes the sound often, but not every time. Sometimes it will make the sound even if I turn the wheel barely an inch or so. Any ideas about what this could be? Friends came up with possible scenarios everthing from a power steering pump going bad to a bad wheel bearing.

If the noise is coming from the steering column, the shaft bushings in the column may be dry/worn. Did this start happening when the weather got cold? If so, column bushings.


Yes, I guess it did start happening when the weather turned cold in December. Is this fixable?

Yes it’s fixable. You can try removing the steering column cover and spray the upper and lower bushings with a silicone lubricant. If that doesn’t remedy the noise problem, then the steering column might need replacing.


You may also want to check your front end components to make sure the noise is not coming from a ball joint or tie rod end. Many times, when a ball-in-socket type joint starts to go bad, they will make noise. This is their design, and it is intended to annoy the vehicle operator into taking the vehicle in for repairs before the part completely fails. This seems to be most common on Fords. There are ways to cover up the noise, but it’s not a good idea as you may forget about it until the part fails, suddenly reminding you that something needed fixed several months ago.

Clocksprings can squeak too…should be one for the Air bag

Yes, kawasaga. It could very well be the clock spring, or the column bearing, or even the plastic trim on the wheel. If the front wheels are raised and the battery disconnected the air bag/wheel cover can be removed and the wheel turned while listening for the squeak.

Is this noise when turning from right “Off center”? Or is this the squeaking you hear when you peg the wheel full left or right and are fighting against the stops Power steering pulley/belt squealing sound?

Sounds like you are talking about What Tester thinks/said…and that would be right off center squeaking in the column or near the wheel squeaky…

What help I just provided I dunno…lol