Why is My UTV Making Weird Noises When I Turn?

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
ATV AnswerMan helps out a Yamaha Rhino 660 owner

On my 2005 Yamaha Rhino 660, when I turn left, it starts to make a clicking noise. But only when I turn left. It will make popping noises sometimes when I turn left or turn the wheel back straight. It doesn’t do it every time when I turn right but It has popped once. Do you know why it is doing that?


Let me begin by saying that you have a very reliable machine in the original Yamaha Rhino 660 that was actually born in 2004 and revolutionized our off-road industry. Yet no matter how good the machine, it does require some regular maintenance to keep it working correctly. The popping you are hearing is most likely the CV axle joint or a bad suspension knuckle bearing out near the wheel. Start with the CV axle or half shaft; these do wear and if the axles have never been replaced or rebuilt with oversized components, you might be looking at a broken axle very soon. My suggestion is to not drive the machine, but get it up on some jack stand or stands and begin inspecting each wheel. You need to lift the wheels in pairs so jack up the front OR rear together and follow these steps.

Making sure you are on a level surface and that you can safely jack up the vehicle, be sure to prepare some kind of jack stands or safety net before you get under or around the machine. Once both wheels are in the air, either front or rear, try rocking/rolling one wheel forward and back to find excessive end play in the axle. Keep an eye on the axle and its CV joints (there is one at the wheel and one at the differential) to actually see the play in the joint. To narrow the search try to identify exactly which side the noise is coming from.

Another item to be aware of is when jacking the Rhino up watch to see if the wheels fall inward at the bottom. This would indicate worn out suspension knuckle bearings. The wheel can be manipulated from top to bottom to determine this as well. These bearings can be replaced with patience and the correct tools for removal, but some find it easier to replace the entire knuckle instead of wrenching away to get the bad bearings out. I hope this helps!

Rick Sosebee
Rick Sosebee

Whether he is in Mexico covering the Baja 1000, building ATVs for local racers, or out enjoying the trails, Rick’s passion shows in his stories. Learning to wrench his own machines from his grandfather, Rick also has an undying appreciation for the mechanics of off-road vehicles. Do not let the dirt and mud fool you, though, as Rick also has a deep love for street cars.

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