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Growling Chevy Mailbu, I think it's steering related

I’m a working father who recently went back to school and now my car is mad at me…
I have a 4 cyl. '99 Chevy Malibu with 137K. Two weeks ago she started making a growling/rubbing noise coming from the front of the car. If I steer even a little to the right the noise goes away. If the steering wheel is straight or turned to the left the noise persists. The noise is always present, except when turning to the right and at when I slow to stop there becomes a slight oscillation in the noise.
What is it? Is it hard to repair? I typically change my own brakes, alternator, tie-rods, and simplier car repair tasks.
Just tyring to keep everyone happy…including my upset Malibu, Thanks!

The noise you hear might be from a worn front wheel bearing.

You can try to confirm this by raising the front wheels off the ground. Then grab each front tire at the 6:00 and 12:00 oclock positions and try rocking the top and bottom of the tire in and out to see if there’s any play. If there is play in the tire that wheel bearing is worn. Or if you grab onto the strut spring and then rotate the tire very slowly, sometimes the roughness of the bearing will be transmitted into the strut spring where it can be felt.


I’d agree with the wheel bearing theory, except you say the noise persists when the vehicle is stationary, at which time “there becomes a slight oscillation in the noise.” Wheel bearings don’t make noise, especially oscillating noise, when they’re not turning.

I’m going to suggest (guess) it’s something connected to the engine by a belt. First suspect would be the power steering pump, although I can’t explain why it would matter which way you turned the steering wheel.

Can you tell where the noise is coming from? Have you opened the hood and tried to locate the noise?