How To Identify The Cause Of Squeaking When Driving But Not Stopping

When your steering system, suspension, or brakes squeak when driving but not when braking, it most likely means that something is wrong with your steering system, suspension, or brakes. In most cases, these issues can be fixed by a mechanic relatively easily, and they should not cause any serious problems. The purpose of this article is to break down the possible causes of these sounds and explain how you can fix them so your car works like new again.

How to Identify the Cause of Squeaking When Driving but Not Stopping

Squeaking Noise while Driving But Not Brakes Applied: Causes

Brake wear indicators

When it comes time to change brake pads, modern pads make noise intentionally. As brake pads are nearing their end of life, you’ll hear annoying noises coming from a small “squealer” at the tip. In the event that you hear noise while driving or braking, it is a sign that your brakes need to be replaced as soon as possible.

There are some squealers that start to make noise even when you aren’t breaking, while there are others that start making noise almost as soon as the brake pedal is gently touched.

Squeaking sound location

It may be hard at first to pinpoint the sound of your wheels because it is so high-pitched.

The following symptoms may also occur

Not at all. You should be able to brake normally. If your pads are squeaking, they are nearing their end.

What to do?

Ensure your brake pads are in good condition. To avoid potentially catastrophic mistakes, you should consult a professional.

Debris in your wheel well

In automotive terminology, the wheel well refers to the space inside the vehicle between the tire and frame. You might hear squeaking, whistling, or rattling when you drive if you have a branch, stick, pebble, or even trash stuck inside the well. If you slow down, these noises may subside due to reduced friction.

Location of the squeaking sound: It’s one of your wheels. A vehicle may even sound like it is emitting a sound from underneath.

The following symptoms may also occur

During the rumbling of debris, the sound may change in nature. In addition, you’ll likely hear the sound coming only from one wheel.

What to do?

The best way to check your wheel well with a flashlight is to get down on the ground with your vehicle cold. You should also check the area between the brake calipers and the discs. You can solve the problem by removing any trash you find.

Stuck brake calipers

In order for the brake pads to be held in place, calipers must be used. The brake pad is pushed against the rotor by the brake caliper when you press the brake pedal. It will sound like a high-pitched squealing noise if a caliper is stuck, as the rotor and brake pad fight against each other.

One wheel makes a squeaking sound. There will be a noticeable amount of noise and obnoxiousness.

The following symptoms may also occur

The longer you drive, the more smoke you’ll see, and you’ll likely smell burning odors coming from the brake pads. During driving, you might notice the vehicle pulling to the right or left depending on how hard the caliper is pushing against the rotor.

What to do?

Depending on how cold it is or how old the brake assembly is, you might need to replace a stuck piston or brake hose. To have your calipers repaired, take them to a mechanic. If the caliper fails, you will need to replace it.

Worn-out suspension components

Between your tires and the body of your vehicle, your suspension is composed of shocks, springs, and absorbers. You can feel comfortable in the driver’s seat when the suspension absorbs bumps and valleys. As the suspension tries to absorb vibrations, squeaking can be heard if either of those springs or absorbers is damaged.

Under the vehicle, there is a squeaking sound. There will probably be a general area that sounds particularly loud.

The following symptoms may also occur

There may be a noticeable difference in the ride quality of your vehicle. Occasionally, your vehicle may creak when you are at a stoplight as it settles.

What to do?

The suspension on your vehicle is quite complex, so you should have your suspension inspected and repaired by a professional mechanic.|

Read more Steering Assist Is Reduced Drive With Care (Solved)

Power-steering pump failure

In spite of the fact that you’re moving thousands of pounds of metal, power steering allows you to turn the wheel lightly with ease. By creating a hydraulic (or electric) system via power steering fluid, you are able to use your steering column as a steering column. It is possible to hear squeaking noises when steering if your fluid pump fails.

If there is a leak in your power steering fluid, it could be low. You will have to replace the pump as soon as possible if you do not fix it.

Location of the squeaking sound: If the pump is located inside your engine bay or just behind your dashboard, you should find it there.

The following symptoms may also occur

If you turn the wheel, the squeaking gets worse, and cornering becomes harder, and you hear groaning or swooshing sounds when you idle.

What to do?

Replace the power steering pump with the help of a mechanic.

Rusty or dry steering column

Your steering wheel is connected to other parts of the steering system through the steering column. The shaft is basically just a long piece of metal with a joint at one end. Those joints may rust if they are exposed to moisture. It’s also possible that overuse will cause the joint’s lubrication to dissipate. As a result of either of these issues, squeaking may occur that disappears as the vehicle slows down.

Read More Why Your Car Jerks When Stopped (Causes)

Location of the squeaking sound: You’ll find it in your engine bay. A noise behind the steering wheel may even sound like it’s coming from there.

The following symptoms may also occur

There will be noticeable difficulty steering or turning the wheel if your steering column is faulty.

What to do?

Having your steering column re-lubricated or replaced by a mechanic is a good idea to avoid malfunctions.

Bad CV joint

There are two CV joints on each tire. The transmission distributes power to the wheels through these bearing assemblies when the wheels are connected to the axle. Those damaged CV joints may squeak as you drive if they are damaged.

Location of the squeaking sound: Usually beneath the vehicle, inside the wheel well.

The following symptoms may also occur

This squeaking noise may be accompanied by clicking. The vibration will also get worse the faster you drive, and all these symptoms will worsen as you go.

What to do?

It is a good idea to have the CV joints inspected and possibly repaired by a transmission specialist or mechanic.

Is it safe to drive while my car makes noise?

As long as you can brake normally, you’re fine to drive.

If your brakes work properly and the vehicle is under your control, you should be fine to drive. In the short term, it’s unlikely you’ll cause any serious damage or threaten your safety by driving while there’s a noise — and you should get it fixed as soon as possible. Don’t ignore this, but skipping the tow truck will save you some money.

  • A power-steering pump or steering column that has been damaged can cause you trouble steering. The mechanic should be contacted as soon as possible if the problem occurs on the highway.

Do you feel vibrations in the steering wheel?

It is common for a car to squeal when its brake rotors are damaged. The steering wheel of the car may also vibrate slightly as a result of this problem, in addition to making squeaking noises.

Do you have old brake pads on your car?

Most cars make squealing noises when their brake linings wear out. These types of noise are purposely made by this part to alert the driver that the brake linings are worn and too thin. Replacement of the pads is the better option at this point.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why I’m hearing a grinding sound while driving but not brakes applied?

If the water pump on your car is not working, there may be a problem. Cooling the engine and preventing it from overheating is accomplished by the water pump. There are times when the aged water pump malfunctions and makes a grinding noise. The grinding noise will stop if you repair or replace the water top.

Do you notice leak spots behind the vehicle?

In a car, squealing noises are sometimes caused by axle seal leaks. In this instance, the crack occurs because of a buildup of pressure caused by clogged vents or seals that fail because of the wear of the axle or bearings. Furthermore, a bad wheel bearing can leak grease onto the braking surface or accumulated motor oil on the rotor surface can contribute to the problem.

Is your car braking on its own without you pressing the brake pedal?

Drum brakes that are partially applied and calipers that stick are sometimes encountered on cars. The car will brake lightly even if the brake pedal is not depressed.

Are you using low-grade brake pads?

It’s possible that your car’s rotors have a few cracks caused by heat, which are commonly accompanied by squealing sounds. Whenever rotors can overheat, this issue can occur, which is more prevalent in cheap brake pads.

Do you commonly drive over dusty terrain?

In some cases, aftermarket brake pads can cause squeaky brakes. They can also come from worn pads, brake dust, or faulty brake materials.

Why is the car’s brake squeaking even when it’s fine?

Even if your brakes are working fine, you might hear squeaking due to faulty ceramic or metallic pads. A small pinecone, twig, or rock may get stuck between the rotor and the brake pad and cause a loud squeaking sound.

Can lubricating the car stop the squeaking noise?

When your steering parts squeak due to inadequate lubrication, applying lubricate can solve the problem. The steering components can’t be oiled or lubricated with any petroleum-derived liquids. When rubber is exposed to moisture, it can bloat and break down over time. The manufacturer’s recommended lubricant or WD-40 should be used instead.


I hope you can now figure out why your car makes squeaking noises when you’re driving, but you’re not applying the brakes. Don’t drive this squeaking car any longer, whatever the reason may be. Otherwise, you will have to spend thousands on repairs. Make an appointment with an expert mechanic and fix the problem so that you can drive in peace, safety, and comfort. 

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