When you turn your steering wheel, the wheels turn too. It's a simple cause and effect. The steering wheel is definitely on the top ten list as one of the most crucial components of a vehicle. And without proper functionality, the overall safety and performance of your drive can become compromised. A steering wheel that becomes stiff during a trip is not only terrifying, but it's dangerous. There are a few typical reasons why your steering wheel may be malfunctioning:
Have you checked your steering fluid?
Steering fluid is a liquid that lubricates your powering steering pump. It transmits a smooth pressure through the power steering system. Since the power steering fluid plays a critical role, it's no surprise that it's the first section we check when the steering wheel is sticking. Most drivers assume refilling the power steering fluid will fix the problem, but it's only a temporary solution. Low power steering fluid is not an ordinary occurrence, and it usually indicates that there's a leak somewhere along the pressurized hose area. The problem will never truly be resolved until the hole is found and fixed.
Improper tire pressure.
In most circumstances, a steering wheel that isn't properly turning indicates problems within the powering steering system as they both work hand in hand. A less common culprit may be low tire pressure. The inflation of all tires should meet your specific vehicle’s manufacturer PSI recommendations.
A worn or damaged serpentine belt.
The serpentine belt can't keep your pants up, but it does supply power to your steering wheel. In some vehicles, it also helps supply power to your alternator and air conditioner. Serpentine belts are sensitive; with time, they can wear and become cracked or loose. Damage to the serpentine belt will lead to a faulty steering wheel.
There's an issue with your steering rack.
Your steering rack is a pretty big deal because it helps your car change directions. True to its name, the steering rack contains a rack and a pinion. An excellent example of its function is when we're making a U-Turn. We turn the steering wheel in a circular motion, and the steering rack converts this rotational movement through the rack and pinion gear. Steering rack damage is an issue that usually presents itself when you first start your car but can diminish as your car warms up. The steering rack can wear from typical day to day driving. If the problem lies with the steering rack, you'll need to get it replaced before the damage worsens.
If your steering wheel is becoming more challenging to control, it's always best to seek advice from an experienced automotive technician. An inspection is recommended to ensure there are no problems with your power steering fluid, serpentine belt, or steering rack. Some issues may be more straightforward to repair, but regardless, it is always best to seek a diagnosis from a licensed mechanic.