Honda Pilot Noise When Turning the Steering Wheel (SOLVED!)


I just hate when my car makes an unusual noise. I don’t want something to blow up while I’m driving only to feel like a dummy. Because there was an obvious noise alerting me to the problem for weeks and I was too lazy to do anything about it.

Honda Pilot is one of those cars where you’ll often get a warning sound before the real trouble starts. That’s a good thing. It means you can get it fixed before anything major happens.

If the noise occurs while turning the steering wheel, fret not! In this article I’ve outlined the kind of noises that can happen, the 6 most common reasons and the optimal ways to fix them.

1. Metallic Clunking Noise – Worn Shocks/Struts

Does your Honda Pilot also feel loose and bouncy through turns or when you’re going over bumps? If the answer is yes, it’s very likely that you’re dealing with worn out shocks or struts.

Both help with your cars ride and handling. They can last anywhere from 40 000 miles to 90 000 miles, depending on the terrain you drive in and how heavy of a load you carry.

Another sign to watch out for is fluid on the side of one of your front shocks. If there is any fluid there’s a good chance that it’s blown and should be replaced.

Replacing them in a shop can be quite expensive. According to Repairpal.com:

Labor costs are estimated between $242 and $305 while parts are priced between $518 and $728.

However, the cost can vary depending on the specific model year and location. I’ve heard some people getting quoted closer to $2000.

So if you’ve got some mechanic skills, you might want to DIY this and save a few hundred bucks. Here is a video showing you how it’s done:

2. Creaking sound – Worn Ball Joints

The common issue with ball joints is lack of lubrication. They allow control arms and steering knuckles to adjust to movement. If the grease has worn out they start to creak.

Another way to pinpoint that the noise is coming from ball joints is if it’s becoming progressively louder. Obviously this is something you should take care of as soon as possible to prevent further deterioration of the ball joints and surrounding components.

Here’s a great video tutorial on how to check if a ball joint is bad:

.. and here’s a video tutorial on how to lubricate them.

For lubricating ball joints I recommend using a hand grease gun like LockNLube and equipping it with a grease injection needle (aff link to Amazon). The needle is very convenient because it can be easily inserted under or through bearing seals.

If the ball joints need to be replaced, that’s another story. This video shows how to do it. If you opt to get them replaced by a professional, these are the expected costs:

On average, the cost for a Honda Pilot Ball Joint Replacement (Front) is $178 with $83 for parts and $95 for labor. (source)

On average, the cost for a Honda Pilot Ball Joint Replacement (Rear) is $178 with $74 for parts and $104 for labor. (source)

3. Knocking/Rattling (sometimes with creaking sound) – Damaged Tie Rod Ends

Tie rods are connected to the steering system. They help move the wheels when turning. When tie rods are damaged many sounds can be heard. There is usually a knocking sound when making tight and low-speed turns.

Sometimes a high-pitched squealing sound is heard when turning. A rattling or shaking noise is also common. It comes from loose tie rods rattling around at the joints and links.

Apart from these noises there are some other signs to watch out for:

  • front end misalignment
  • uneven and excessive tire wear
  • steering wheel just feels unusual
  • inability to steer

Thankfully this is not a super expensive thing to fix. According to Repairpal.com:

The average cost for a Honda Pilot tie rod replacement is between $93 and $125. Labor costs are estimated between $43 and $55 while parts are priced between $50 and $70.

If you want to DIY, check out these two video tutorials:

4. Groaning/Creaking Noise – Dry Jounce Bushing

This is often a simple matter of lubrication, or lack thereof. However, it might be damaged and require replacement. The jounce bushing is located on top of the front strut. It’s important to repair it ASAP because it can lead to more serious problems if neglected.

5. Creaking Noise – Dry/Damaged Suspension Bushings

Same as dry bounce bushings, the larger suspension bushings can also cause a creaking noise due to lack of lubrication or deterioration. This video demonstrates how to replace them.

According to Repairpal, these are the expected costs if you opt for a professional to do it for you:

The average cost for a Honda Pilot suspension control arm bushings replacement is between $189 and $216. Labor costs are estimated between $99 and $125 while parts are priced between $90 and $91.

6. Screeching or Whining Noise – Bad Power Steering System

These sounds can be heard at low and normal speed when turning. It might be the belt, pump, rack, hoses and more. If it’s the pump, it usually happens when low-speed turning.

Sometimes the issue is easy to fix, like adding power steering fluid, but at other times it could require replacing a component. Because diagnosing is difficult, I recommend contacting a professional if you suspect that this is the source of the noise.

Final Thoughts

I recommend that you pay close attention to where the noise is coming from (what side of the car and if it’s coming from the front or rear end). This will help you get closer to the issue.

Also pay attention to the type of noise that it is. Then you can use the video tutorials and guidelines that I’ve shared in this article to diagnose the issue and hopefully fix it by yourself. If not, at least you will narrow it down for the mechanic so he can get the job done faster and for a smaller price!

If you ever notice that your Honda Pilot is noisy when accelerating, be sure to check out this troubleshooting article as well. Till next time!

Peter Bone

Soundproof expert and a staunch opponent of noise. This website is a free source of information on how to 'keep it down a notch'. I update the content regularly to keep up with advancements in the soundproofing industry.

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