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At low speeds or dry steering, there is a grinding coming from under the dash. I've checked outside the car, and there is no noise, Looked at strut tower bearings they seem fine. There was no noise with winter tires, just started with new summers. I'm thinking it's the electric power steering, but I just wanted a second opinion. 62,000 miles on the 2013 limited explorer (3.5L)

The grinding only happens while turning the steering wheel. If holding a turn, it does not grind. Makes noise for a second at specific angles during rotation, maybe 3 or 4 points in a rotation of the steering wheel. Bad gear?

No noticeable increase in effort required to steer.

Any feedback would be great. Thanks.
 

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The steering rack should be even more audible outside the vehicle than inside... isn't under the dash. However there was a recall for select 2011-13 Explorers due to a steering issue so you might contact a local dealership and see if yours is recalled.

If it is, worst that can happen when you tell them the symptom, is that's not covered, providing you don't agree to a service charge ahead of time which I wouldn't.

Otherwise what you describe seems like a failure in the shaft joint, either in the column to allow for tilt steering wheel, or the next intermediate joint. I state this due to the location of the sound and type of sound but steering failure on this is a serious safety issue so I would pursue that first.

Here's a relevant video or two:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=em4uSrBZwIk

Note that even if your vehicle hasn't had a recall issued, it might still have the problem.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szHMXwcp9fo
 

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Ok thanks. It's going to the dealer on Tuesday. It has had the recalled performed for the electric steering. See that the dealer has to say about it.
 
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