When turning the steering wheel on my Citroen C4 Picasso (64 plate), the front end generates a "whining noise". This noise happens regardless of whether the car is moving or not. It happens when the wheel is being turned quickly - by turning it slowly, the whining can be prevented.

The sound is a medium pitched whirring as opposed to a high pitched sqealing sound that might be indicative of a slipping belt.

Any thoughts?

  • Is it a lower tone noise like a whirring or a high pitched screeching sound? Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 22:53
  • @DucatiKiller From my limited experience, it's not the high pitched squealing sound that I would normally associate with a belt slipping. It is a bit like a medium frequency whirring.
    – Amr Bekhit
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 23:23
  • I would agree, probably not a belt slipping. Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 23:27
  • After doing a bit more research, it looks like your C4 has an electric power steering pump, so I have deleted my answer. First thing to check as @DucatiKiller says is the fluid level.
    – HandyHowie
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 7:07

1 Answer 1


Based upon the information you've provided I can think of two things that may create the "medium frequency whirring" sound.

1. Low Power Steering Fluid

When your power steering fluid is low the fluid cannot absorb sound and what you hear is the pump possibly going bad as a result. Sometimes, when the fluid is just low there will be audible component based upon the lack of sound absorption properties that are the fluid's innate properties.

2. Power Steering Pump Failure

As above, the pump can make the sound you describe when going into a failed state. I'm unsure of the sound source though.

I would defer to @handyhowie chiming in based upon the newer information you have provided or another resource on the site that might be more knowledgeable.

I will say I am sure that the fluid could be low or the pump could be failing. Rather vanilla, I know....but I know those are at least two possibilities.

  • Also a bad rack & pinion can cause the pump to make a low whining noise.
    – race fever
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 3:37
  • Post that as a possible answer. That's good. Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 4:11
  • Dunno, I need more data. @OP, any weird sounds (clunks) or vibrations coming from the front suspension?
    – race fever
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 5:25
  • Thanks for the info - on this car, there doesn't seem to be any mention of the power steering tank at all in the user's manual. I've had a look under the bonnet and I can see the brake fluid, washer fluid and what appears to be the radiator fluid reservoir (it's got a thermometer symbol on the cap), but can't for the life of me find out where the power steering fluid tank would be!
    – Amr Bekhit
    Commented Dec 25, 2015 at 16:51
  • Does your engine bay look like this? - teon.co/cars/citroen-c4-petrol-1-dot-6/manuals/…
    – HandyHowie
    Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 22:30

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