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Need help indentifying grinding

Hey guys. I have a question about my 2002 Ford Taurus. I’ve had it since 2007, and it’s an automatic, and when my parents bought it for me, we didn’t know that it had been previously wrecked. We’ve been to two different mechanics, but I would like to ask y’all for your expert opinions. It’s making kind of a grinding noise, but maybe it’s not really grinding, we don’t know.

When I drive a lot in one day, it will eventually start grinding when I turn the wheel in either direction, but it doesn’t exactly feel stiff, though. It’s been doing this off and on for the past three months, and we have no idea why. It used to only do it when I’d turn it to the right, but about a month ago, it started doing it when I’d turn it to the left, too. To me, it feels like the steering column, but my fiancee says that it feels like the drive shaft. However, when we park it for a little while or even overnight or all day, it’ll quit for awhile, but will sometimes start up again.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, we had a flat tire while we were driving because we didn’t realize the two front tires were extremely worn, and something punctured one of them. So we borrowed a jack to put on the spare and my fiancee’s grandparents took us to Big O and they bought two new tires for the front. Well, they replaced them with no problem, but they told us that the tire rod ends on the front end needed to be replaced and that it needed an alignment and that both of those together would cost $350 and that they needed to be replaced within the next 200 miles. Then they proceded to tell us that the bearings needed to be replaced and that they were causing the grinding because they were wanting to go up and down, instead of left to right like they’re supposed to. But they wouldn’t tell us how much, even though we asked; they just said not to worry about them right now. Naturally, we were extremely worried because we believed them and we figured the car was about to completely fall apart and we don’t have the money to have anything fixed, so we were trying to not drive it as much as possible.

But earlier this week, my fiancee’s grandpa took us to his mechanic, who he has been going to forever, to get an estimate of what it would cost to fix it. He told us that the tire rod end on the front right tire was a little loose and that the bearings were fine and that the rattling we hear in the front when we go over bumps and stuff is the links and that they need to be replaced but not just yet and that I can still get another 40,000 to 50,000 miles out of it. He also said that he doesn’t know what would be causing the grinding. Of course we realized that Big O was being stupid and they just wanted our money, but we’re not giving it to them. We are extremely relieved that the car is fine for now, but we still wanted to know what y’all think.

What is causing this grinding and how serious is it and how soon does it need to be fixed? Do y’all have any idea how much it would cost?

Have you checked the power steering fluid level? Have you checked the condition of the belt that turns the power steering pump? Until you do those 2 things, you are really just asking some dishonest mechanic to rip you off. If you do not know how to do these things, go to your fiancee’s grampa’s mechanic and ask him to show you. The only way to defend yourself against cheaters is with knowledge.

You need I think to replace both CV joints, about $300 each. NOT the tie rods. You wouldn’t notice them until they failed.

we’ve checked the power steering fluid several times and it always has plenty in it. even when we’ve added more, it still does this. it is very past due for a oil change because i haven’t had the money to get it done, but we’re actually gonna get that done this weekend. i know it’ll help the car overall, but i doubt that it’ll help with the grinding

Your car makes a grinding noise while you are turning, according to you left and right. You HAVE bad cv-joints. Cheap repair.

I agree that the CV joints are likely to be the problem.
And, I also agree that replacing both of the CV joints is a relatively cheap repair.
However, if the OP has been hard-pressed to afford an oil change, I doubt that he/she would consider the cost of replacing the CV joints to be cheap.

OP–Start saving your money for replacement of the CV joints, but don’t be surprised if the car winds up immobile due to a snapped CV joint before you have saved the money for this repair.