Why Does My Car Make a Creaking Noise When I Drive Slow?

It could be bad wheel bearings, an unlubricated CV or U-joint, or an issue with your brakes, among other things.

Bad Wheel Bearings

Wheel bearings are the medium between the wheel and the axle, and they do a lot of work to ensure that your ride is as smooth as possible. Wheel bearings consist of multiple steel balls or tapers that rotate around in between two rings. Wheel bearings massively reduce the amount of friction that occurs between the wheel and the axle.

Bad wheel bearings can cause a bunch of weird noises when the car is in motion, and the noise may grow louder when you’re accelerating or trying to make a turn.

Other symptoms of bad wheel bearings include steering that feels vague, unusual vibrations in the steering wheel when accelerating or turning, and a malfunctioning ABS (since ABS sensors are often integrated into wheel bearings). 

Plenty of things can cause your wheel bearings to fail prematurely. Driving conditions play a part, as driving over rough roads and through puddles of water or mud regularly can shorten the lifespan of your bearings. Poor quality bearings will wear out more quickly, as well as bearings that weren’t installed properly.

If you notice the signs of bad wheel bearings, it’s best to have them repaired as soon as possible, unless you want to risk damaging your steering assembly or axle. 

Faulty Joints

If your CV joints are wearing out, either through a lack of lubrication or general wear and tear, this might be the cause of your car’s mysterious creaking sound. CV joints use ball bearings to reduce friction between the two connecting parts of the joint, while allowing the driveshaft to transmit power through the joint without any significant power loss.

CV joints are lubricated with grease and are protected by a rubber cover that prevents water and debris from getting into the joint, as well as the grease from getting out. If the cover gets damaged or wears out, this can cause the CV joint to fail over time.

Bad CV joints make a few noises. You might hear a rhythmic knocking or a clunking noise coming from the joint when the car is in motion, or a clicking or popping sound when the car is turning. Other symptoms include a bouncy ride even when the road is flat or grease on the inside of your wheel or the edge of your tire. 

Being that the CV joint is one of the main components that allows your car to put your engine’s power down to the road, you must get your CV joints fixed right away if you think they’re starting to wear out. 

Bad Brakes

Brakes that are worn out or are poorly fitted can easily cause your car to start making weird noises. The problem may lie with your brake pads or brake discs. 

A common symptom of worn-out brake pads is a creaking or screeching sound when the brakes are being applied, even if you’re not braking particularly hard. If this noise changes to a grinding noise, your brake pads have worn down completely and you should refrain from driving your car until you get them replaced.

Other symptoms of worn-out brake pads include excessive vibrations and a car that pulls to one side when braking. Brake discs also get worn out over time, and will also generate noise in this case. You should also be on the lookout for grooves or scoring appearing on your brake discs.

Bad Bushings

Your car contains several bushings that are used to reduce the amount of friction in your car’s various joints while driving. Bushings are usually made from rubber or polyurethane and are usually a part of your car’s suspension system.

A bad bushing will make a clunking or scraping noise and will result in a vehicle that handles poorly and vibrates excessively. If your bushings wear out completely, components of your suspension and steering system may come into hard contact with each other, resulting in damage.

A Buildup of Dirt

Even a buildup of dirt and mud on the underside of your car can potentially cause a creaking sound. If your suspension components get clogged with debris, it can make the car noisier than usual.

If you frequently travel on dirt roads, it’s a good idea to hose off the underside of your car every month or so. You should especially do this if your vehicle has leaf springs, as those are good at trapping lots of dirt.


While a creaking sound doesn’t always indicate a severe problem with your car, at the very least, it can be pretty annoying.

Regardless of what you think the cause might be, however, it’s always a good idea to get your car looked at as soon as possible if you notice any unusual creaking sounds coming from your car when there weren’t any before; preventative maintenance goes a long way in ensuring that your car stays reliable as long as you own it.