The car makes a halted grinding noise when you turn it. Especially tight turns. It also sounds like it is “popping” or basically about to fall apart.
When you turn left? right? or either way?
I’m not familiar with Saturns but my '89 Toyota pickup had metal steering stops on the tie rods. They were located directly below the radiator but on each side of the car. When you turned the wheel, when you reached maximum, a heavy bolt would contact a hard metal stop, preventing it from going any further. The bolt was supposed to have a nylon cap on it, acting as a lubricant. The caps were cheap, maybe $1, and easy to install; pull off the old and put on the new. When these caps weren’t there the metal on metal made a horrific sound, very much like you describe.
Turn your wheels all the way in the direction of the least amount of noise, then lay on your back and look up. I’ll bet you see the remnants of a white nylon cap on a bolt. It may be gone but you’ll see the bolt about to contact the metal stop.
hmm… i don’t see any remnants of a cap… i do see a small white plastic thing but it looks to be inside more than a cap. I’m not a car expert either so you might be right. You’d think the two mechanics i took it to would be able to see that though…
Sounds like bad CV joint(s) in one or both of the front axles. Get it checked before it strands you somewhere. Did the two mechanics hear the problem? What did they say?
They did both hear the problem. Mechanic 1 said “Faulty strut piece” --then it went away long enough for us to drive with a trailer 1,600 miles. Mechanic 2 said “springs were installed upside-down” and that the trailer weight kept them from bumping things, as they were taught.