Shaky steering and creaking noise from the front drivers side when I turn
Independent repair shop has told me there is a ripped axel boot (this makes sense to me as the CV joint may have gotten dirty and is causing the steering shake and the slight creaking when I turn) However, where I start getting a bit skeptical is what they told me next. They told me that the noise I am hearing is coming from the differential and the vehicle will need a new transmission. My question, specifically, is:
The Sebring 1996 V6 LXI is a front wheel drive vehicle. Is there even a differential in the front of this vehicle?
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Tie rod ends, ball joint, or Upper strut bearing. An alignment shop would give you an estimate for the repair. You can borrow tools to install the bigger stuff at most Autoparts stores. But for all of these repairs you should get an alignment after replacing any one of these parts.
This sound is coming from your strut. Sometimes they will get water in the seals, or dirt, and they will start creaking exactly as you describe. This isn't a big problem unless you can't live with it, and if this is the case, just replace the strut on that side. When the car bounces when you press on that side, then you need to worry about that strut, but otherwise, it's ok.
Sounds like it is your CV axles. Turn the wheel one direction, right or left, and check just behind the wheels to see if your CV boot is cracked or ripped (the boot is a black, rubber accordion looking thing). If it is cracked or ripped, I would say that is definitely the problem.
I think you are right. The strut or strut mount bearings on the top of the strut could be making noise. The shop might try and rip you off with additional repairs for the control arms,control arm bushings, or steering parts. I would take the vehicle to a reliable shop.