Several Reasons Why a Steering Wheel May Be Hard to Turn
Every vehicle has a steering system that allows you to move the steering wheel with ease. Some vehicles though, begin to have steering wheel systems that stop functioning the right way and this leads to many problems. It makes your vehicle unsafe to drive.
Imagine trying to steer your car and your wheel doesn’t turn and you find yourself trying to avoid an accident. Worse off, your steering wheel locks up and you find yourself in a ditch. But what can cause a steering wheel that’s hard to turn?
As any reputable mechanic will tell you, there are many components make up a power steering system. Not only does the pump make it up but so does the serpentine belt. There’s also hydraulic acid among power steering fluid which works with pistons allowing you to easily turn your steering wheel. If there’s an issue with any of these areas, steering becomes stiff or tight making it hard to control your car.
Low Steering Fluid
This is perhaps one of the most common issues leading to hard steering. Not having enough power steering fluid in your car can come from there being a leak from the hose. The hose might get cracked over time or it might just come loose. This causes a leak and for you to lose steering fluid.
This fluid is needed to not only lubricate the pumps but to pressurize the steering system. Over time, the lack of this causes the steering to get harder. Fixing the leak is essential so you don’t cause failure with the entire steering system pump.
Faulty Turning Rack
A rack and pinion make up a turning rack. U-joints along with shafts keep this rack attached to your steering wheel. This rack becomes damaged or worn out over time. This can be from simple wear and tear over the years.
You can tell if this is the problem if after the engine starts running the steering gets better. If your steering wheel is stiff the entire time you drive this can be steering fluid. The more you drive the hotter the rack gets which causes lubrication to work more.
Damaged Serpentine Belt
Damaged or broken serpentine belts are the most common reason for stiff and tight steering. This belt is used every time the car is turned on and you drive. Over time, there’s wear and tear to the belt meaning it’s essential to get this replaced sooner than later. If not, you’ll find your car becomes undrivable.
Power Turning Pump Fails
The power turning pump is what allows you to drive your car smoothly. It ensures there’s the right amount of pressure to turn your car. If there’s an issue with this system, it becomes difficult to steer especially at lower speeds.
Typically, the pump alone won’t stop you from steering. You’ll be able to turn the car, but you’ll be using a lot of elbow grease to do so. The bigger the vehicle, the harder to steer it becomes. Before replacing this system, consider checking the connector to make sure it’s not loose or damaged.
Worn Out Turning Fluid
Just like any other fluid, power steering fluid becomes thick over time. It’s important to change this regularly as you would other fluids in your car. You should be changing it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. If it becomes thick or old, it stops lubricating the system making it hard to steer.
These are all reasons you could experience stiff or harder steering. If you begin to experience stiff steering, consider having these areas checked out. The sooner you take care of them, the better off you’ll be in the long run as far as saving money and preventing further damage.
If you feel that your steering wheel is harder to turn than usual, it’s strongly advised that you have your car booked into a trusted auto mechanic as soon as possible.
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