The steering wheel in your car is under direct manipulation by you. Turn it in either direction and your car responds, with the aid of other steering components in the vehicle. When turning becomes difficult or the car makes a mysterious noise when turning, you may have questions about what’s causing the trouble. Check out our list of seven common reasons your steering wheel may not be working at its best and when it’s time to steer your car toward Performance Collision Center for an inspection.
1. Shaking Steering Wheel – Your car should move smoothly down the road. When your steering wheel begins shaking, the cause can often be determined based on whether you’re moving or braking. When traveling over 20 – 30 MPH, and your steering wheel shakes, it’s time to have your tires looked at as they may be unbalanced or worn. If the vibrations are felt while braking, this is a clear indicator that your brake rotors are warped, making it harder for brake pads to clamp down. Braking creates an incredible amount of heat from the friction created to bring your vehicle to a stop. Constant heating and cooling break down rotors causing warping, which prevents them from dissipating heat properly.
2. Excessive Play or Movement in Steering Wheel – On vehicles with rack and pinion steering systems, worn tire rods may be responsible for a lack of response to the wheels, when the steering wheel is turned. Tie rods are the driver’s connection from the steering wheel to the tires. When tie rods wear out, along with a loose steering wheel, you may notice a squeaking sound when turning.
3.Steering Pulls in One Direction or the Other – When you find yourself fighting the steering wheel to keep your vehicle driving in a straight line, a few things may be responsible for this problem. The most common reason is that the vehicle is out of alignment. A vehicle that is properly aligned ensures that all tires remain in line for proper contact with the road. Vehicles commonly fall out of alignment from going over pot holes or hitting curbs. A vehicle that is out of alignment causes abnormal and accelerated tire wear and you may notice tires are more worn on one side than the other as a result. Additionally, defective tires can cause pulling to the left or right. Worn or defective tires are easily recognized as visible metal strips may be emerging from the tire. Since many vehicles require the same tire size, diameter, as well as tread type, it is recommended to replace all tires at once for better handling on the road.