CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Noise in 2002 Subaru Impreza

There’s a very loud jerky noise in my car whenever I turn the wheel. This happens when I turn it right or left and the noise gets louder and jerks more when I turn the wheel more. So, if I make just a small left hand turn the noise isn’t too bad but it’s there, but if I make a U-turn and have to really turn the wheel the car makes the noise and jerks. The noise is like a loud “ga-ga-ga” sound (if that helps).

Please help if you’ve seen this before!

The first things that I would do are to check the level of the fluid in the Power Steering reservoir, and to check the condition and the tension of the serpentine belt that turns the PS pump. If this is the original belt (and the original belt tensioner), they are likely overdue for replacement.

Are the tires matched front to back in tread depth/make/model?

To expand upon what raj is asking, have you made sure that the tire circumferences have matched throughout the life of the car? If not, drivetrain damage can result, giving the symptoms you’re describing now.

step 1: worry about the tire circumference (as noted).

step 2: check the power steering fluid & belt (as noted).

If all of that checks out have someone worry about CV joints - though the noise is most often described as clicking rather than ga-ga-ga - which is why the other things are more likely.

Thank you for your advice! I’m hearing a couple of different things on my end as well. Some say that after 100,000 miles that I need to replace the transmission and others say that’s a flat out lie and the car can go for much longer.

I will ask about the tire circumference to be checked although I had that checked last winter with no alerts. My guess is something is completely off with the steering.

You guys are awesome! Thanks again!