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2014 Ford Ka screeching noise (steering/wheels)

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Hi, I was hoping someone could advise.

Recently my 2014 Ford Ka Studio has been making quite a loud screeching/whistling noise when driving at high speeds, but the noise is not constant or predictable - it is intermittent. It tends to happen after about 30 minutes of driving at high speeds (e.g. on motorway) and the noise is loudest when the steering wheel is centralised or slightly to the right. Sometimes the noise will go as quickly as it came and doesn't happen all the time, even at high speeds - but that is when it's most likely to happen. When driving the car through town at low speeds day-to-day it's fine and doesn't make the noise at all.

I thought it might be a worn wheel bearing but I took it to the Ford dealership who checked it over and said it was fine - and yet it still makes the noise. It is definitely something related to the steering/wheels because the noise changes depending on the direction of the steering. It sounds like components grinding/vibrating against one another but no one seems to know what it is and it is difficult to show people irl given it is only an intermittent noise.

Other than this noise the car seems perfectly fine - no warning lights on dashboard, drives smoothly, etc.

Thanks in advance.

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2 hours ago, unofix said:

Worn brake pads (normally the inboard sets) ?

Thanks for your response. I don't think this is the issue because we only got them changed a year ago and we don't engage the brake when making the noise - not sure though.

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