If you’ve been driving for any length of time, you know how important your steering system is. Without this component, you wouldn’t be able to stay in control of your car. When it’s working the way it should, you probably don’t think about your steering wheel. However, if something goes wrong and it’s incredibly difficult to steer your vehicle, then all you can think about is getting it fixed.
Finding out why it’s hard to turn your wheel is important and should be taken care of as soon as possible. Taking it to a professional is in your best interest, as they’ll be able to quickly and accurately determine what is wrong and fix it. There are many different reasons why your power steering system might be hard to move, and the most common are listed below.
Low Power Steering Fluid Levels
One of the most common reasons why you may find it hard to turn your steering wheel is because your vehicle is low on power steering fluid. This fluid is needed to lubricate the power steering pump and pressurize the system. You may still be able to drive your vehicle, but if you let this issue go for too long, your power steering pump will fail. Getting this replaced is expensive, so it’s advised that you get fluid added instead.
A reason why your power steering fluid might be low could be because the pump has developed a leak. It’s common for the hose to get cracked or become loose. In addition to adding more fluid to your power steering system, you’ll also need to replace or reconnect the hose so that this issue doesn’t continue to occur.
In addition to the fluid leaking out of the pump, it’s possible that it can get old and thick. Getting this fluid changed based on the manufacturer’s recommendation will ensure that your steering remains loose and keeps you in control of your car.
Power Steering Pump Failure
This component is a critical part of your power steering system, and if it fails, it can make it incredibly difficult to turn your wheel. It won’t be impossible, but it will take a lot of work on your end to get the vehicle to move the way you want it to. As mentioned, leaking power steering fluid can cause the pump to fail, but it can also become damaged or wear out over time.
Getting this checked and fixed is in your best interest. Not only is it hard to turn your vehicle if the power steering pump fails, but it also turns into a safety issue.
Bad Steering Rack
Your steering rack is made up of many different parts, including a series of shafts and U-joints that attach the steering rack to the wheel. Over time and through use, the steering rack can wear out. There’s also the possibility that it can get damaged. If that occurs, then it may be hard for you to steer your vehicle.
There are some signs that will let you know you have a bad steering rack. If you find that your steering is incredibly stiff or tight when you first start your vehicle but then it gets looser as the car warms up, this means there is something wrong with the steering rack. You’ll need to get this problem fixed so that it doesn’t turn into a major issue that results in you losing all control of your car.
Issues with the Serpentine Belt
If the serpentine belt in your vehicle becomes cracked or breaks, this could impact your ability to steer. Over time, it will wear out, which can cause cracks to develop in the surface or the ridges on the inside could become worn. If any of those happen, it will be difficult for you to turn the wheel.
Other Reasons It Might be Hard to Turn Your Wheel
In addition to the common causes listed above, there are some other reasons why it might be difficult for you to turn your wheel.
Low Tire Pressure
Should you discover that your steering becomes harder to turn when traveling at low speeds, this could be an indication that you have low tire pressure. The best course of action is to check the air level in your tires, as well as the recommended PSI. If they aren’t inflated to the right level, then adding some air could be all you need to loosen your steering.
The wheel in the car is how you control your tires and tell your vehicle which way you want it to go. If the tire or suspension has been damaged, this could mean that it’s hard for you to turn the steering wheel. This could be because of a bent axle or rim or other problems. If the tire rubs against the frame of the car, this could also impact your ability to steer.
In addition to the wheel being hard to turn, you may also notice that your ride isn’t as smooth as it used to be. The wheel may also pull toward the right or left, or you may hear a rubbing or squealing when you turn a certain direction. All of these can indicate that your suspension is damaged.
Damage to the suspension usually happens if you hit something. This could be a curb while you are trying to park, a speed bump at faster speeds than recommended or if you are hit by another car during an accident. If you have recently experienced any of these events, even if they didn’t seem that bad, it’s a good idea to take your vehicle in to a professional and have it looked at. They’ll be able to let you know for sure what the problem is and find a way to fix it.
There are a variety of different reasons why it might hard to turn your wheel. There are steps to take to figure out what the problem might be, including the following:
- Check the fluid levels
- Pay attention to when the steering is the hardest; this could indicate the cause of the problem (i.e., low tire pressure, low fluid levels, etc.)
- Take the vehicle into a professional
You need your steering system to stay in control of your car. Taking it to a professional is the best plan, as they will be able to determine exactly what is wrong and get it fixed. This is the best way to keep yourself and others safe while you’re on the road.