Diagnosing a Few Common Steering Problems With Your Car
Never overlook steering problems with your car, as a small problem can soon turn into a major repair job, and may even allow the vehicle's steering to completely give out while on the road. One challenge you might face, however, is pinpointing the exact problem with your car that could cause the steering to malfunction! Note a few quick tips for diagnosing steering problems you may be having with your car, as some of these needed repairs are simple and can be done quickly and easily, while others should be addressed as soon as possible, so your car is always safe when in operation.
Gradual changes to steering
If your car's steering gets gradually stiffer or looser over time, this often indicates a leak of the power steering fluid. You can check the fluid reservoir and note if the fluid is low, but this fluid shouldn't burn off or be used up, so low fluid levels usually mean there is a leak that needs addressing.
Check the power steering hose for damage; your car's owner's manual can show you which hose is for this fluid. If the hose is in good repair, check the coupling, or the metal clamp that keeps the hose in place. These couplings may come loose or get eroded over time, and need replacing. If you cannot see any signs of leak around the hose, a mechanic should check the reservoir or the steering system itself for causes of this leak.
If your car's steering wheel is vibrating, this usually indicates a problem around the tyres; when they shake, you'll feel this in the steering wheel. The tyres could be mismatched or not balanced, so that one actually bounces when on the road. A tyre that is not aligned properly can also vibrate as it rotates. Have the tyres checked for alignment, balancing, and to ensure they're all matching, and this might address any vibrations you feel in the steering wheel.
If you ever feel the steering wheel sporadically locking up, you want to get this fixed immediately. This can mean that the car has little to no steering fluid, or that the belt that operates the pump for this fluid needs replacing. The car may get steering fluid delivered to the system sporadically when the levels are low, so the steering then locks up on occasion. The pump may also slow down as damaged parts of the belt rotate around it. If this is left unchecked, the steering may lock up completely, causing an extreme hazard while driving