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I have an 05 Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi which has done 130K. I have recently noticed a noise whenever I put any pressure at all towards the left on my steering wheel. The noise continues until the pressure on the wheel is released. It's difficult to describe the noise but a low pitched hum would probably be close.
I don't want to go to a dealer witghout having some idea of what the problem could be so could anyone point me in the right direction.
Easy fix?

Go the long way round and turn right only?
A few things to try and diagnose the possible problems:

Does the car stay straight and true when driving?
What about when braking?

Jack the car up and spin the wheels with your hands. If it's bearings you'll hear them - a rough, dry scraping noise. No noise = good bearings.

Then with the car still up on the jack, put your hands on the wheel/tyre at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock and try and rock the wheel backwards and forwards. Repeat with your hands at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock. This will help to diagnose worn/loose bushes or track rod ends - if nothing moves then they should be OK.

Failing that, go to a garage and get them to put it on the ramps. Steering and suspension is critical to safe handling & braking, so you don't want to take any chances. An inspection should be cheap or even free.

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