Why Does My Car Rev When I Turn the Wheel? The Reasons, Diagnosis, and Prevention

Why does my car rev when I turn the wheel? – perhaps many car owners worldwide have this question. This issue puzzles the mind by triggering if any relevant damage or technical faults is going inside the car. In this article, I will explore the typical case of cars revving when turning the steering wheel.

Mainly, the feature of the power steering system causes the car to rev when you turn the steering wheel. You should check the fluid level and condition of the steering system. Another reason can be the issues with the engine management system, like faulty throttle position sensors or idle air control valves. Also, faulty transmission can cause a car to rev while turning the wheel.

Car revving while turning the wheel is not usually a severe problem. But you should care if you notice the revving is excessive or accompanied by other issues. Thus, reading this article may help you understand why and possible ways to prevent mishaps.

The Components Connected to Car Revving

Cars have different components that work together to give us a smooth and safe driving experience. The steering wheel, engine, and transmission systems are core components of any car.

For instance (according to HowStuffWorks and Wikipedia), we use the steering wheel or system to control the car’s direction. It has several parts like a steering wheel, steering column, and steering gear.

Now, the steering system transmits movement down the steering shaft to move the wheels left or right after turning the steering wheel. It happens with linkages, rods, pivots, and gears. This process follows a variation of Ackermann steering geometry to make the wheels turn at the correct angles.

The engine and transmission provide power to the wheels and control the vehicle’s speed. The engine generates power by burning fuel. Similarly, the transmission transfers this power to the wheels by changing gears. Through these, the car can maintain a balance between speed and torque.

Turning the steering wheel, the power steering system puts more pressure on the engine. It can cause the engine revs up. However, it happens as the power steering system uses either hydraulic or electric power to assist you in turning the wheel (BlueStar)

Why Does My Car Rev When I Turn the Wheel: The Potential Causes

Let’s know the reasons for car revving due to turning the wheel in detail:

Power Steering System Issues

The power steering system reduces the effort needed to turn the steering wheel by multiplying the force applied by the driver. It is achieved using either hydraulic or electric power to assist the steering process. Therefore, the driver experiences smoother and more efficient driving. But when this system gets problems, your car may rev when you turn the wheels.

Low power steering fluid

Low-power steering fluid can cause your car to rev while turning the wheel. When the fluid is low, it can cause a drop in pressure and lead to air getting into the system. It makes the pump work harder and creates a whining noise.

According to TownEastFord, some common symptoms of low power steering fluid levels include:

  • Low fluid levels can hinder steering wheel turning and cause whining or screeching noise, particularly at low speeds during wheel turns.
  • Screeching sound from the steering wheel or under the hood? Check power steering fluid levels.
  • Fluid leaks under the vehicle may indicate low power steering fluid levels. However, consider that other fluids in the car could also be leaking.

To resolve this issue, check the fluid level in the power steering reservoir and refill it if necessary. Additionally, inspect the system for any leaks or cracks in the reservoir that may cause the fluid to run low. (Sources:  cartreatments, cashcarsbuyer)

Damaged power steering pump

When turning the wheel, a damaged power steering pump can cause your car to rev. If the pump is worn out or damaged, it can cause system performance problems. Hence, it leads to the revving issue.

Repairpal and Mechanicbase note these common symptoms of a failing power steering pump:

  • Suppose the pump is not providing adequate pressure. Then, it becomes difficult to turn the steering wheel, especially at low speeds or while stopped.
  • A faulty power steering pump can produce a whining or groaning noise. It can increase with engine RPMs. You may hear it louder when turning the wheel.
  • Power steering pumps, lines, hoses, and steering gears can develop leaks. These leaks can originate from the pump seals, a pump housing, or a reservoir crack. If you notice a red or reddish-brown puddle under your car, it could be a sign of a leaking power steering fluid.
  • A failing power steering pump can cause the steering to feel rough or jerky. You may find the car tough to control because of it.
  • Sometimes, the pump issue may cause the power steering warning light to illuminate on the dashboard.

To diagnose a failing pump, check the pressure with a gauge. Also, inspect the serpentine or V belt for cracks or slippage and look for leaks in the power steering hoses. Replace the faulty pump if needed (cbac).

Engine Management System Issues

Car may rev when you turn the steering wheel if it has problems with the engine management system. Here are some reasons why it happens:

Faulty throttle position sensor

A faulty throttle position sensor (TPS) can cause your car to rev when turning the wheel. If the sensor malfunctions, the engine control unit (ECU) cannot regulate the air-fuel mixture properly. Thus, you will get performance issues.

Some symptoms of a bad TPS are:

  • Check engine warning light
  • Weak acceleration
  • Excess fuel consumption
  • Rough idling,
  • Stalling
  • Poor fuel economy.

You can use a multimeter to test the sensor’s voltage to diagnose a faulty TPS. Otherwise, consult a professional mechanic. Replace the faulty TPS after identification. (Sources: repairpalcarfromjapan)

Malfunctioning idle air control valve

The IAC valve maintains the engine’s idle speed by regulating the air entering the engine. If the valve malfunctions, it can cause the engine to rev or idle higher than usual.

Some symptoms of a bad IAC valve are varying or fluctuating idle speed, stalling, and checking engine warning lights.

You can use an OBD-II scanner to check for related trouble codes to diagnose the defective IAC valve. Other steps can be inspecting the valve for damage or carbon buildup. You may need to clean or replace this valve to prevent the unwanted car revving problem.

Engine Idle Speed Adjustment

Idle speed is the engine’s rotational speed when it is not under any load, and the throttle is not pressed. Too low engine idle speed can cause the power steering pump to restrict the supply of enough pressure for smooth turning. Mostly, it happens at low speeds or when making sharp turns. It can cause a sluggish or jerky response in the steering wheel, often accompanied by a howl or loud screech.

GetJerry suggests these instructions to adjust the engine idle speed to the recommended RPM specs:

  1. First, start the engine and let it warm up thoroughly. Make this adjustment when the engine is on.
  2. Locate the throttle body by following the air intake hose from the air filter. On the throttle body, look for a screw (perhaps a plastic cap covers it). If the plastic cap is still attached, use a prying tool to remove it.
  3. Locate the electronic connector that secures the idle air adjustment valve to the throttle body. Then, disconnect it to disengage the valve.
  4. Now, turn the idle screw to adjust the idle. If you want to increase RPM, then turn the screw to the left. Otherwise, turn right to lower it.
  5. After adjusting to the recommended RPM (typically 650-750 RPM), reconnect the idle air adjustment valve’s electrical connection.

Transmission-Related Issues

Like other components, hearing car rev when turning wheels may indicate the issues with its transmission. In this part, you will learn about these issues:

Worn-out torque converter

A worn-out torque converter can cause your car to rev when turning the wheel. It can cause transmission slipping during acceleration, rough idle, rough acceleration, and noises from the transmission.

If you suspect a worn-out torque converter, look for signs like loss of acceleration, transmission fluid leaks, or lousy transmission fluid. You may need to contact an expert to diagnose and fix this issue.

Transmission fluid issues

Transmission fluid issues can cause your car to rev when turning the wheel. They can be for low transmission fluid levels, damaged torque converter seals, or contaminated transmission fluid.

  • Low fluid levels can cause overheating, slipping, or shuddering, which can cause revving issues.
  • Damaged seals can result in fluid leaks, further reducing the liquid level and causing similar problems.
  • Contaminated transmission fluid can indicate bigger problems inside the converter or transmission, such as worn-out bearings, bushings, or clutches.

Check the fluid level and if necessary, top it up to resolve transmission fluid issues. Sometimes, you may need to replace damaged seals. Also, you may consult a professional mechanic to identify any underlying problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common reasons for a car to rev while turning the wheel?

Answer: There could be several reasons why a car revs while turning the wheel, including issues with the power steering system, throttle, engine, and transmission.

How can I diagnose the issue causing my car to rev when I turn the steering wheel?

Answer: You should check the power steering fluid levels first. Then, inspect the power steering system components and throttle system.

How can I prevent my car from revving when turning the wheel in the future?

Answer: You should regularly check and maintain proper power steering fluid levels. Also, clean the throttle plate periodically to prevent sticking or binding. It is always good to stay updated with engine management system maintenance.

Can revving while turning damage my car?

Answer: Yes, it can. When the power steering system does not properly manage the power produced by the engine, it can put excessive strain on the components. It causes other concerns like belt slippage, increased wear on the power steering pump, or even damage to the steering rack.

What is the average lifespan of a power steering pump?

Answer: A well-maintained power steering pump can typically last around 100,000 to 150,000 miles.


I hope now you have the answer to “Why does my car rev when I turn the wheel?” In this post, I have explained all the reasons, symptoms, diagnoses, and solutions to car revving when the wheel turns.

In short, you need to keep the power steering system fine to prevent unnecessary car revving. Also, keep your engine lubricated and inspect all components to keep them active.

Thank you for your time on this informative article. Have an enjoyable ride!

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