Steering is one of the most important functions of any vehicle. It is one of the components that you will be in contact with most often, allowing you to notice even the most subtle changes. It is easy to ignore these changes, but they may actually be signs of trouble
If your steering wheel is not turning easily and precisely, or making noise, there are several things that might be wrong.
- Low Power steering fluid. The steering wheel can become very hard to turn. You might hear “whining” or squeaking.
- Power Steering fluid leaks. Look for steering fluid (typically red, clear or pink) under your vehicle.
- Failing steering rack mount. Most modern cars use a “rack-and-pinion” steering system. Rack mounting bushings are attached to the steering wheel, and move side-to-side to absorb impacts from the suspension. If the steering rack begins to wear out, you may notice “jerking” of the wheel when going over bumps, inconsistent steering, or “clunking” sounds in the steering column. Clicking or popping noises may also be present.
- Damaged or worn-out power steering belt. The power steering belt is turned by a pulley on the crankshaft, and it’s what drives the fluid pump that controls your hydraulic steering. If this belt is worn-down and becomes “slack”, steering may start to feel heavy or jerky.
- Bad strut bearings or tie rods. If your wheel is “wandering” or straying from a straight line while you drive, you could have issues with your suspension, such as bad strut bearings or tie rods. Wheel “looseness” is also a sign of suspension trouble, as is excessive tire wear, and a suspension that tends to sag and squeak when going across bumps and obstacles.
Steering issues are safety issues and should be addressed as soon as possible. Describe your symptoms to your Old Town Auto Service Advisor. Our technicians are trained to evaluate what's causing your steering troubles and make the necessary repairs to get you safely back on the road. It will truly be a turning point in your driving experience.
Old Town Auto Service
Revised from content contributed by NAPA Service Assistant