If you are losing your mind trying to find the source of a squealing noise on your Jeep Wrangler, then you need to read this article. Locating the source of a sinister squeak can be frustrating and downright frustrating. Many choose to simply ignore the squeaky noises and learn to live with them. Sometimes, however, these squeaks can be something serious, and a pre-warning of a major component is about to fail and cause catastrophic damage.
So what are some of the common causes of squeaks on your Jeep? Let’s have a look.
A Squeaking noise on a jeep Wrangler can come from any of the below components:
- Brake Caliper Clips
- Poly Bushes
- Spare Tire Carrier
- Wheel Bearings
- Exhaust Bolts
There is actually a very good method you can use to track down the source of your nightmare squeaks.
How do you go about it?
We’ll start by finding a quiet space like a parking or loading yard in an industrial area. Even a paved parking lot on the side of an office block could work. The point is to find a space that allows the squeaky sound to bounce off the walls and allow you to easily locate the area of the Jeep the sound is emitting from i.e. front left, rear, engine, undercarriage, etc.
Next, roll your windows down, and if possible, remove the doors of your Wrangler and drop the top to listen clearly for the sound rebounding off the wall. Drive along a wall and locate the area.
So now we know how to locate the area where the noise is coming from, let’s look at what it could possibly be and how you can rid your Wrangler of this irritation.
How Do I Stop My Jeep From Squeaking?
Sometimes it can be hard to recreate the sound when the vehicle is stationary. i.e. parking in your garage or driveway. Certain components will only squeak when under load or while accelerating. So, a squeak related to a rotational component will usually only be heard while driving and be directly proportioned to the speed you are traveling. Meaning, the faster you drive, the faster the chirp will become, and vice versa. Slower speed, slower chirp.
Now let’s look at some usual suspects causing Jeep Wrangler owners to lose their marbles.
Brake Caliper Clips
This is a bit of a sneaky one. You will hear it under load, however, it can be tricky to isolate when the jeep is stationary. You need to jack up the vehicle and spin the tires by hand. Give it a wiggle and a few tugs.
If you have successfully narrowed it down to the rear of the vehicle, you can check the following:
- Brake Caliper Clips
- Rear Driveshaft U-joint
- Wheel bearings
You should inspect the rear brake Caliper Clips and look for any shiny parts on the clips. This will indicate that there is metal on metal chaffing. This dry metal chaffing is what causes the squeaking noises while driving at lower speeds.
A dry wheel bearing can also start to howl and squeal when they begin to go bad. Once a wheel bearing is exposed to water for long periods and loses its grease it won’t take long before it starts driving you crazy.
Also, inspect all dust seals and rubber seals while the wheel is off. These strange noises tend to manifest themselves after an extended Overlanding or off-road trip.
There are 4 U-joints on the Wranglers that you need to inspect.
- One on the front drive shaft
- One on the rear drive shaft
- One on each front axle shaft
I had a dry u-joint on my Ute and boy did it drive me crazy. Not only was it annoying, but also embarrassing. Pulling out of a parking lot or shopping complex with a squeaking truck is not cool!
You need to get underneath and have a good look around at the front and rear U-Joints. They look like a small fat cross and join the driveshaft to the diff, sometimes with a yolk. These components need grease to function properly. Once those needle bearings lose their grease due to old age or a broken seal, they’ll let you know they’re unhappy and be squealing in no time. Bad OEM u-joints can be replaced with Spicer 5-3010x. These are a direct fit and a lot more durable than the factory versions. I’ll put a link below under the resources section.
What are some things you need to inspect for on the U-Joints?
- Orange colored rust leaking out the u-joint bearing cap
- Broken U-joint bearing caps
- Grease leaks around the U-joint
- Anything different, loose or leaking down there should be addressed
There should be very little slop at the u-joints, so give it a good yank and shake to test for any play. If there is a slight play on the u-joint, it might only squeal up to a certain speed, after which it will disappear.
If you can’t seem to replicate the squeal while the Jeep is stationary, then you could take it a step further and remove the front driveshaft. Take a short drive and test. If the noise has disappeared, you’ve successfully isolated the problem and now can be 100% sure the problem is with the front u-joint.
You can do the same with the rear driveshaft by placing the Jeep in 4H, thus sending the power to the front wheels and isolating the rear driveshaft and u-joint.
Don’t forget to inspect the two front axle u-joints as well.
Many Jeep Wrangler owners simply refuse to fit poly bushings simply because they are prone to squealing. Even after being greased multiple times, they always tend to creak, groan, and squeak. There is special grease you can use that has specifically been formulated for poly bushes, which will link below.
Spare Tire Carrier
A squeal that drives you crazy can sometimes be something very simple, like a tire carrier. So the first thing you need to do in this instance is to remove the spare tire and go for a drive. If the squealing stops – walla!
This is prone to happen if you’ve fitted bigger tires on the Jeep and which adds extra weight to the rear tailgate, usually around the hinges since they carry all the weight. Once there is a little movement around the hinges, it will cause the door rubber seals to become slightly misaligned and squeak. The tire also tends to chafe against the rubber pads causing an annoying squeaky rubber on rubber noise.
Do a thorough and inspection and grease the hinges. Use silicone to clean everything else on the tire carrier and rubber pads.
The suspension is made up of quite a few moving components that can cause squeaking noises. When the suspension flexes when you drive off-road or over bumps is when it usually emits a strange squeaking noise. Sometimes it only squeaks a few times and disappears.
You might want to take your Jeep to a reputable suspension specialist for an inspection since this could be more serious, that could cause a catastrophic failure while driving
Your control arms might need adjustment, so check those
If you have a lifted Wrangler, over time you might develop squeaks and creeks that wasn’t previously there. The Jeep design doesn’t block out road noise and tire noises very well, to begin with.
Also, sometimes when the geometry of altered on your suspension, it placed pressure on other components that might not have been the case with a stock suspension setup.
Sometimes you might just have to accept that your Jeep will squeal a bit and need to live with it.
Another culprit that emits a squeaking noise is your exhaust. Not normally the system itself but rather the brackets and bolts holding the pipes together.
You’ll want to check all manifold bolts and flange bolts that secure the CAT. Also, inspect and tighten all the bolts holding the rest of the exhaust securely.
Exhaust is under extreme vibrations, especially on a dirt road, bolts tend to work themselves loose. Sometimes just enough to start chaffing and squealing but not enough to come off completely. Take a ratchet set and tighten all the exhaust system bolts and support brackets firmly.
There are many moving parts and components that could become loose or dry over time. Below are a few other components you can check.
- The side step tube mount was rubbing against the body mount
- Dry Lower control arm bushings
- Perished and dry body mount
- worn hub bearing
- improperly torqued control arm bolt
Jeep Wrangler Squeaking Noise When Turning
Another component you want to inspect for wear and possible failure is the power steering unit. Often the failed unit will be identified by a squealing noise when the driver turns the steering wheel.
The squealing could be coming from:
- Failing Power Steering Pump
- Power Steering Belt
- Low Power Steering Fluid
- Worn PS Belts
Jeep Wrangler Squeaking Noise When Braking
If your jeep gives off a creaking type sound every time you apply brakes, then this section is for you.
It usually manifests the noise when driving at low speeds and when the clutch is released when pulling off in 1st gear. The noise can be isolated to the front passenger side when driving slowly and when accelerating. It sounds like it’s coming from underneath the passenger side seat, however, close inspection will reveal it comes from the rear
You’ll need to inspect all the suspension components thoroughly and torque and lubricate all the joints and mounts. Also, grease rear bushings and control arm mounts thoroughly. It might take a few short miles to work in so take it for a nice drive to lube in properly.
Jeep Wrangler Chirping Noise While Driving
If you are hearing squealing sounds noises from the front of the engine while idling then you could have a dry or misaligned belt. Remove, wipe down and adjust all belts on the pulleys, fans and put back.
If it only squeaks when the clutch is depressed you might have another problem. In the case where you depress the clutch and the noise disappears but returns when you accelerate, it could be related to your clutch and pressure plate and release bearing.
Brake Spring Clips Squeak: https://youtu.be/KgjX2OESGBo
Dry U-Joint: https://youtu.be/fdGEZDl7Ey8
Regular maintenance on your Jeep will do well to minimize weird squeaks and creeks. If you regularly go off-road and drive bad tracks and have a lifted suspension, you will be more prone to squeaks and thus will need to do more lubrication services than usual. Before and after an extended trip, take a day to inspect all bolts, nuts, and lubricate bushes as a preventative maintenance procedure.