Steering wheel hard to turn is not a car problem anyone wants to experience. To prevent this issue from happening, read on to know the common reasons for the steering wheel being hard turning and how to solve it.
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Every car has a control mechanism, and the steering wheel is an important part of it. The steering wheel is used to control the direction of the car. Without the steering wheel, you won’t be able to change lanes, avoid potholes, manoeuvre through crowded areas, make a turn etc. So, what happens when the steering wheel becomes hard to turn? It means it has gone stiff and you won’t be able to use it for the above functions.
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Steering a wheel hard to turn is a dangerous problem for any driver. It poses not only a threat to you, but to other vehicles and pedestrians. Imagine having to change lanes or make a turn during a traffic situation, or on the highway or in a crowded street. It’s almost imaginable the kind of accidents and loss of properties that can happen when the wheels become hard to turn. This is why you must know the cause of this dangerous situation and how to fix the steering wheel hard to turn problem.
Below are 6 top reasons for steering wheel hard to turn;
- Broken Serpentine Belt
The serpentine belt is continuously used anytime your vehicle is in motion. As a result, it is prone to be worn out and become loose quickly. When the serpentine belt starts becoming loose or worn out, the steering wheel starts getting stiff. Failure to replace the belt quickly can eventually lead to breakage. When this happens, the steering wheel won’t move again.
- Tire Pressure
This might come as a surprise, but irregular tire pressure can affect your steering wheel. It’s usually best that your tires are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI. Tires issues like deflated tires, wear and tear, faulty wheel alignment etc can trigger the steering wheel hard to turn. Uneven wear in the front tires can cause the vehicle to pull to one side when you want to make a turn or change lanes. An uneven tire tread will make a wheel go out of alignment. This results in the steering wheel being hard to turn.
- Bad Steering Rack
The steering rack is attached to the wheel through some sets of U-joints and shafts. It is made up of the pinion and the rack. As a result of daily driving, the steering rack will start wearing and tearing. One of the symptoms of a bad steering rack is that your steering wheel becomes stiff immediately after you turn on your vehicle. But after a while of driving, it starts moving smoothly because the rack gets hotter with the running of the engine, allowing the lubricant to settle in. When you notice signs of stiffness of the wheel, it’s wise you replace the steering rack before the problem worsens.
- Thick Fluid
The power steering system always requires fluid to lubricate its parts for proper functioning. However, the power steering fluid can get thicker and it won’t be able to perform its function. This often happens if the fluid is not regularly changed as necessary. When this happens, the steering starts getting stiff and can’t make a turn even at low speeds. Correcting this requires that you drain the old thick fluid and replace it with a fresh one.
- Leaky Fluid
There is a required amount of fluid that the power steering system needs to function optimally. If the power steering fluid starts to leak, it’s another major reason why the steering wheel becomes hard to turn. The power steering fluid is used to lubricate the pump and pressurize the system. If it’s not sufficient, it becomes hard to change lanes or manoeuvre the direction of your car with the wheels.
- Malfunctioning Of Pump
Along with the fluid, the pump also plays a critical role in maintaining the efficiency of the steering wheel. The pump creates the right volume of pressure in the steering system. When the pump is weak or damaged, the steering wheel becomes stiff and eventually becomes hard to turn. You will exert extra force to stir the wheels to turn direction or change lanes.
Solutions To Steering Wheel Hard To Turn
- Inspect The Power Steering Wheel And Fluid
The powering steering wheel and fluid are often the main problems when the steering wheels start becoming stiff. The power steering fluid can easily be found inside a cylindrical reservoir near the engine. The fluid level should usually be full and dark red. If the colour is darker, it means the fluid is due for a change.
- Check The Tyre Pressure
The Tyre pressure should be inspected since it also contributes to the steering wheel being hard to turn. Always ensure that all the tyres are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI, to avoid imbalanced tyre pressure.
- Observe The Power Steering Unit
The pressure hose is an important part of the power steering unit. When it gets punctured, the fluid can start leaking which reduces the overpressure. This will then result in a stiff steering wheel. So, always observe the power steering unit and replace any damaged part in it.
- Check The Pump Pulley
When the pump pulley is damaged, the steering wheel will not be able to steer freely again. The steering pump pulley turns the serpentine belt which drives the steering pump. Check the serpentine belt and the pulley system is all well connected and in good condition.
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