kia rio

The car you see above was purchased in February of this year and despite it being a used car, up until about a week ago it was trouble-free.


What you see there is a Callaway golf ball which at this point probably has absolutely no connection to my suspected car troubles.

Or so you would think.

About a week ago, I heard my car making a weird noise as I came to a sudden stop or when braking and turning right. It was a kind of rattling that I really couldn’t put my finger on but as I heard it over and over, it occurred to me that the sound was similar to a golf ball rolling on a hard surface.

While I could tolerate the annoying rattle, what I couldn’t handle was the steering wheel locking up halfway when making a right turn. Never a left turn; always right. The noise would also seem to roll from left to right whenever I turned. It actually sounded like a golf ball was inside my dashboard somewhere.

I immediately thought I would have to take it in for service and that it would cost me an arm and a leg to get it fixed—even if under warranty. I considered not taking it on our road trip and instead packing up Ann’s car because of this problem.

I even went so far as to do some online searching for “sound of golf ball rolling when turning” and “steering wheel locking up while turning” and came to the conclusion that what was going on was indeed bad.

But after driving over 300 miles, I only heard the noise a few times and the steering wheel locked up a bit while turning into the hotel.

Great, I would have to take a day off from work to take it into the shop and the rest of that mess. While I could take Ann’s car to work, she needs it for work and to pick up Anthony at school. It just wouldn’t have worked.

Today, after returning from picking up some breakfast, I heard the funky noise again. This time, however, I decided to get a little down and dirty and do a visual inspection of the area where I thought the noise was coming from.

I looked under the steering column and there was nothing odd but then again, I’m no auto mechanic. Then on my gut instinct, I chose to lift the carpet a bit where it meets the steering column and here’s what I found:


My hunch was indeed right: there was a golf ball rolling around within a crevice of my car’s interior. When I turned, the ball would roll around and obviously jam the mechanism, making turning right a problem.

Now what I can’t figure out is where it came from. Anthony doesn’t have any Callaway golf balls so I know it’s not his. Perhaps the previous owner was a golfer and unknowingly left the ball in there but why would it show up nearly two months after I bought the car? Wouldn’t I have heard it or seen it long before that, even if it wasn’t in the place you see it above?

Either way, I removed the ball from its little cubby and the car is no longer making the noise and turning right is no longer a problem. Everything is back to normal.

Just imagine my embarrassment if I had taken it to the dealer for this…