Having a steering wheel that is hard to turn is a pretty scary and dangerous problem to have with your car. One of the most crucial components of a vehicle, when the steering system fails, the overall safety and performance of the vehicle will be significantly compromised. If you are experiencing difficulty in turning the steering wheel, there are a few things that may be causing the problem:
Low Power Steering Fluid
The main purpose of power steering fluid is to lubricate the power steering pump and to transmit pressure seamlessly throughout the system, so it goes without saying that one of the most common causes of a stiff steering wheel is low power steering fluid in the system. Normally, this occurs if the fluid is leaking from the pressurized hose area, and while refilling the fluid will temporarily fix the problem, the cause of the disappearing power steering fluid will need to be found and rectified.
The car may be driveable but if you don’t fix the leak, it will eventually cause your power steering pump to fail which can be an expensive to replace.
Damaged Power Steering Belt
The action of the power steering system is driven by the power steering belt. Belts are known to be one of the most susceptible components of your car as they can crack, snap, or loosen more easily than many other car parts. A broken power steering belt will mean your power steering system will not be able to operate, leading to a steering wheel that is difficult to turn.
Faulty Steering Rack
The steering rack is a key part of the steering make-up and consists of the rack and pinion, a series of U-joints and shafts keep the steering rack attached to the steering wheel. It’s inevitable that steering racks become damaged over time, simply due to everyday usage. You will know when the steering rack is damaged or faulty because the steering wheel will only be tight when you start your vehicle. As the engine continues to run and warms up, the steering rack will get hotter which causes the lubricant to work itself around a bit better meaning the steering wheel may become less stiff as the car continues to run. Nevertheless, you’ll need to get the steering rack replaced before the problem worsens.
Low Tyre Pressure
Whilst the majority of the time a heavy steering wheel will be the result of a problematic or malfunctioning power steering system, it may also be caused by low tyre pressure. Improper tyre pressure, especially deflated tyres, can trigger this problem. All tyres should be inflated according to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI.
Consult Your Mechanic
If you’re having a hard time turning the steering wheel of your car, seek advice from a licenced mechanic. They will take a look at your entire power steering system and look for potential problems. Issues such as low power steering fluid, or a broken power steering belt are straightforward to repair, while other problems such as a damaged steering rack may be a little more complicated. Regardless, it is always best to have a professional diagnose and fix the problem.
Do you have a steering wheel that has become hard or difficult to turn? Contact the expert team at AME Automotive today and book in a car service package. Our highly skilled professionals will resolve your power steering issue, ensuring that your vehicle continues to turn smoothly and efficiently. Call us today on (08) 9455 3225 or visit our conveniently located Canning Vale workshop.