Mouse or electrical in my steering wheel?!

Do I have a new mouse friend in my steering wheel? I am going somewhat crazy with a little noise coming from just below my steering wheel or maybe even IN my steering wheel. It definitely sounds like a small electrical clicking noise, although it also sounds like a little mouse in there scratching. The noise isn’t constant. I notice it slightly more when I first start up the car and for the first few minutes of driving, but it can certainly happen at later times of a drive. It just seems to come and go at random. The vehicle (2018 Honda Odyssey) is driving absolutely fine and the noise doesn’t have any link to me turning, using signals, braking, or anything else. Any ideas anyone??

If you hear it when turning my guess, the steering wheel is rubbing against the housing of the steering column.

There’s a lot of activity in a steering wheel these days. I’m wondering if there could be a fault in some electronics causing a switch to activate randomly. This may set a fault code that doesn’t turn on the check engine light. Maybe have it scanned by a scanner that can read audio equipment codes as well as other system codes. Or it could be a stray small part bouncing around.

Or, it could be the Clock Spring located in the hub of the steering wheel, underneath the vinyl covering.

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You might try adjusting the tilt/extension of the steering column to see if that has any effect on the noise.
We had a 2002 Camry that developed a sound kind of like you describe at about the same age. In our case nothing seemed to be affected by it. Other than the occasional quick low pitched squeak like plastic on plastic once per revolution and not all the time or everyday even. Couldn’t feel that there was any kind of hang up or friction or jerk or tug on the wheel. We just let it go and other than a minor annoyance it eventually went away of it’s own Accord.

Here’s a test for you: Start the car. When everything’s running and you aren’t hearing the noise, increase the AC temperature by 20 degrees (assuming you have automatic climate control). Also, switch the mode from face to foot (or vice versa). See if you hear the noise.

There are likely several electrical relays under the dashboard in the steering wheel area. Maybe one of those is making the noise. It’s going to be hard to diagnose & repair until you know more about what it is that’s making the noise. One idea, next time you hear it after first starting the engine, assuming this is safe to do, leave it running and get out of the car and kneel down and listen underneath the dashboard/driver’s seat area. Can you pinpoint more exactly where the sound is coming from. It can help to use a short length of discarded garden hose as a sort of stethoscope to do this sort of test.

Another idea, you may have a battery or charging system problem. Ask your shop do a basic battery/alternator voltage test. Before the first start of the day the battery should measure about 12.6 volts. Immediately after starting the engine, 13.5 - 15.5 volts. What do you get?

I don’t hear it more when turning, but thanks for the suggestion!

It’s a pretty common complaint here for car owners to hear an annoying squeaking noise when turning the steering wheel. The cause is usually a little interference between some part attached to the part of the steering wheel that moves, and the steering column (which doesn’t). Ray and Tom addressed this caller problem several times on their show in fact. The callers reported it’s often worse at certain ambient temperatures, either hot or cold, depends. But this problem is only heard when turning the wheel, so your problem must have a different source.