Bad steering? Here are the possible causes and solutions

By: Kris LeSueur   |   30 Jan 2023
Image from Wheel Scene

The steering wheel is one of the most used parts of any vehicle. So when it becomes faulty, it creates a frustrating and rather uncomfortable driving experience, and possibly, a dangerous one. Watch out for signs that you are having steering wheel problems so you can get them fixed immediately. The following are some of the things you should take note of.

Problem: steering wheels are off-center

Drivers depend on the position of the steering wheel to determine or estimate the angle and position of the wheels and tires. This is helpful when backing up or parking. But what if the steering wheel itself is not straight? It could be mildly annoying, right? Well, it’s a common problem, but it’s one that is easy to diagnose and fix.

The cause: Wear on the suspension components

The steering wheel is just one part of a rather complex system which is the car’s suspension. When the suspension gets damaged or sustains wear over time, the steering wheel may be affected.

Plus, going over potholes or getting into a collision will end up damaging front-end suspension components. This can alter the front-end alignment of the vehicle resulting in an off-center steering wheel.

The solution: Front-end alignment and replacement of damaged components

A front-end alignment will likely solve the issue. And if component damage is what causes the problem, it’s time to replace them.

Problem: difficulty in steering

The steering wheel may act up one day and be difficult to steer, like making a slow turn is an upper body workout because the steering wheel just won’t budge.

The cause: Power steering fluid reservoir issues

If the car has power steering, the best place to check first is the power steering fluid reservoir. It could simply be an issue of a lack of power steering fluid. If you fill it up and it happens again, then check for leaks.

The solution: Refill the power steering fluid or check the reservoir for leaks

A simple refill should do the trick. If not, then try to spot if there is a leak. You can check spots like hoses, the steering rack, or the steering pump as these are the most common leak spots.

Problem: Grinding or screeching noise when turning

No car is supposed to screech when turning, so the steering system surely has a problem if this happens.

The cause: Multiple causes could be identified

A damaged or loose steering belt could be the cause of the noise, but another culprit could be low steering fluid levels or faulty steering gear.

The solution: Multiple solutions could be done

If the steering belt is the problem, replacing it should get rid of the noise issue. If the fluid level is, then simply filling the reservoir will solve it. But, if the issue is with the steering gear, it’s a bigger problem and it’s best to leave it with a trusted mechanic so they can confirm and patch up the issue as soon as possible. 

It is every driver’s responsibility to make sure that steering is smooth and in good condition all the time. This way, accidents are avoided and everybody is safe on the road.


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