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What Causes Steering Wheel Problems?

Published on Jul 11, 2022 at 6:46 pm in Auto Safety.

What causes steering wheel problems
Any new sounds or sensations that your vehicle gives off can be alarming. They can definitely make you wonder if something is wrong with your car.

Thanks to power steering technology, most of us are used to our steering wheels taking very little effort to turn while not making any sound. Automobiles are like any other machinery or heavy equipment, though, in that they experience wear and tear, resulting in signs of distress with age or use.

Let’s discover what causes steering wheel problems and the safety dangers posed. Knowing this information may aid you in deciding how critical it is to get a mechanic involved in fixing the issue.

What Are the Signs of Steering Problems?

Some of the earliest signs of steering wheel trouble are if it:

  • Becomes notably stiffer or looser to turn than it typically is
  • Makes a grinding, squeaking, whining, or screeching noise when you turn it
  • Slips
  • Vibrates

It should also raise the alarm anytime you see any liquids pooling underneath the hood of your car or the automobile itself. A properly maintained vehicle should have very little if any fluids emanating from it, particularly dark, dirty ones.

Most lawyers has seen their fair share of injury crash cases caused by steering issues such as these. Our attorneys have taken these cases on to recover compensation for medical costs and lost wages on behalf of clients.

What Are the Most Common Steering Problems?

Most steering problems are attributable to one of the following four issues:

Low Power Steering Fluid Levels

Our vehicles must be well maintained to keep them functioning optimally like any heavy equipment. This generally entails keeping machinery’s different components well lubricated. Fluids, like oils, are generally used for this purpose. In the case of power steering fluid, it’s key to ensure that your vehicle’s hydraulic power steering system remains functional.

Signs of low fluid include:

  • Increased difficulty in steering the vehicle
  • Squeaking or whining noises when the wheel is turned

You can generally resolve the aforementioned issues on your own by adding additional power steering fluid. However, if the sound or sensations that initially alarmed you don’t resolve after replacing the power steering fluid, then you may have more profound issues warranting being checked out by a mechanic.

It should raise the alarm, though, if you notice a puddling of a clear, pink, or dark red substance under the hood of your car or the front end of your vehicle. This may let you know that there’s a leak.

Defective Rack-and-Pinion Mount System

Most modern vehicles rely on this steering rack mount system to do two things:

  • Absorb suspension system impacts
  • Move from side-to-side

Some of the earliest signs that your car’s rack-and-pinion system needs replacing are if your wheel starts shifting involuntarily, especially when attempting to navigate bumps.

Popping, thumping, or clicking noises indicate steering rack bushing and mount trouble and need to be addressed right away by a mechanic.

Worn Power Steering Belt

Belts are key to keeping vehicles operational. Your car’s power steering system, for example, relies on the use of a crankshaft and pulley to infuse your hydraulic steering system with the necessary fluid to keep it controllable (or from becoming stiff or spastic). A worn-down belt may make your steering feel loose.

While there are some instances in which a mechanic can tighten a power steering belt, it has to be replaced to resolve any signs or sounds of wear and tear in most cases.

Defective Tie Rods or Strut Bearings

Wheel looseness or an inability for your wheel to keep straight when you’re driving may indicate there’s a problem with your vehicle’s tie rods or strut bearings. These issues can also indicate overly worn tires and suspension problems, which tend to deteriorate the longer they’re left unaddressed, resulting in a potential accident if they fail.

Dangers Associated With Not Addressing Steering Problems

Steering wheel issues can deteriorate the longer they’re allowed to linger. Additional signs of issues may creep up, decreasing functionality and safety. Some examples of how initially minor, easily addressed steering wheel issues may quickly progress into a hazardous situation include:

  • Too low power steering fluid levels may result in a lack of vehicle responsiveness, affecting a motorist’s ability to steer to avoid automobiles and other hazards entering their path. It can also affect a motorist’s ability to make as tight of turns as they would like.
  • Steering wheel shaking or vibrating can make controlling a vehicle at a high rate of speed increasingly difficult, thus upping a driver’s risk of becoming entangled in an accident.
  • Tie rod or strut bearing issues that cause a vehicle to drift from left to right instead of keeping a straight course may increase the likelihood of that automobile striking another vehicle or inanimate object.
  • Grinding noises left unaddressed may indicate defective manufacturing or wear and tear of auto parts. Defective power steering belts could cause a vehicle to suddenly become disabled in traffic, causing or leaving it vulnerable to becoming involved in a collision.

Steering issues that are left unaddressed can affect other vehicle systems and car parts.

What To Know About Liability for Steering-Related Accidents

A mechanic can fix most steering problems. And most states, including South Carolina, have lemon laws in place covering new vehicles that are defectively manufactured.

Automakers have a responsibility to produce safe automobiles. Car owners have an obligation to perform regular maintenance on their vehicles to protect themselves and fellow motorists from potential harm.

Defective vehicle manufacturing and inadequate maintenance can cause motor vehicle accidents. These collisions can cause catastrophic injuries. Our attorneys regularly advocate on behalf of individuals hurt in incidents like these and want to ensure your rights are protected. Reach out to us to tell us about your injury incident so a lawyer can discuss doing the same for you.

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