As the instrument that lets you maneuver your car, the steering wheel and its relevant components must stay in peak condition. If turning or changing lanes becomes difficult, it could create a dangerous situation for you and others, so finding the source of trouble and having it fixed should be a top priority. Made up of power steering fluid, a pump, belt and piston, the steering system can lose efficiency over time (like any mechanical system). So, if turning takes more power than it used to, here are the most common causes:
Worn Out Steering Rack
Made up of a rack and pinion connected to the steering wheel with U-joints and shafts, the steering rack is vulnerable to wear since it gets used frequently. If the rack is to blame for difficulty, the tightness might be worse when you first start driving but get easier as time goes on. This happens because the heat inside the engine intensifies as you drive, warming up the lubricant that spreads out and makes steering easier. Therefore, if you notice a problem early on, timely care will prevent things from escalating.
Damaged Serpentine Belt
Any belt inside your car can crack and wear down with time and use, and like other belts, if this one breaks, it can create a domino effect of damage. If the serpentine belt gets prematurely worn or isn’t changed according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, your car can become undrivable. To avoid this dangerous situation, make sure to change this belt at the proper mileage point.
Dirty or Inadequate Power Steering Fluid
Without enough power steering fluid, the pressurized steering system can’t adequately lubricate the pump, causing stiffness when you turn the wheel. This vital fluid can also become thick and dirty over time, making its job more difficult. Either way, keeping an eye on power steering fluid will prevent any damage to the system.
Faulty Power Steering Pump
The power steering pump generates the pressure that allows the steering wheel to turn easily, so if it becomes worn or impaired, turning the vehicle becomes increasingly difficult. Since this problem worsens with time, it’s essential you take the car to be serviced as soon as you notice stiffness, but once you repair or replace the pump, steering will immediately normalize.
Remember, for professional guidance or service, Meadows Automotive in Waterford is only a phone call away. Call us to schedule an appointment today!