The steering system is a vital part of any vehicle. It allows the driver to control the direction of the vehicle, and just like all mechanical components, the steering system is prone to failure. Failure can be the result of normal wear and tear and malfunction and can lead to an unsafe ride for the driver and their passengers. In this blog, we will go over the most common causes of steering system failure, the warning signs to look out for, and the preventative measures to avoid costly repairs for the long haul.
What causes the steering system to fail?
There can be a number of reasons why the steering system in a vehicle begins to fail, all of which can jeopardize the safety of the driver and other passengers if the steering column terminates during operation. The steering wheel in a vehicle is in place to assist the vehicle operator with controlling the direction in which they wish for the vehicle to go. With the accelerating pedal, steering wheel, and tires, the driver is granted the ability to turn left or right, drive forward, or reverse the vehicle. A steering wheel system as a whole is made up of the steering wheel, steering shaft and column, tie rods, rack, idler arms, pitman arm, and a drag or center link component. These parts contribute greatly to a vehicle's ability to be driven in the direction that the operator desires.
The steering system is susceptible to failure, just like every other component in a vehicle. Failure within the steering column typically correlates to normal wear and tear, such as corrosion, loose or damaged connections, or an electrical issue. Corrosion is caused by exposure to moisture, salt, or many other environmental influences. When corrosion occurs within the steering column, the steering parts can become weak or brittle, with the potential to fail over time. Since the steering system is connected to many other components in the vehicle, when wiring or parts become loose or damaged, the steering column is most susceptible to failure. Lastly, electrical issues have the potential to cause a lot of faults within the vehicle. Still, the steering system's wires and sensors are also open to termination if there are failures within these components as well.
What are the signs?
Some of the signs that the steering wheel system is failing include:
- Difficulty turning the wheel.
- Squeaking and grinding noises
- Steering wheel vibrations
- Steering wheel tilt is not functioning.
- Steering wheel feels loose or wobbly.
- Steering wheel is off-center.
All these signals are the vehicle's way of communicating that the steering wheel and its components are on their way to complete failure. It is highly recommended by auto repair professionals to have the steering system inspected and repaired as soon as any of these signals occur. Staying on top of maintenance prevents irreversible damage and eliminates the opportunity of compromising the safety of you and your passengers.
How to prevent it?
The best way to prevent steering system failure is through regular maintenance practices to check for leaks and to ensure the correct fluids are being used as well. It is also recommended by auto repair specialists to drive safely and avoid impacts from hitting curbs, barriers, potholes, or any other surfaces that can cause damage to the steering system. Another tip to prevent steering system issues is to avoid overloading the vehicle by putting extra stress on the vehicle and its parts. Lastly, as soon as steering system signals arrive, have a professional make the repair right away. Going too long without acknowledging the signs of fault in your steering system can cause more severe damage down the line.
Some of the best advice to maintain vehicle performance is through the practice of maintenance. Maintenance is pushed by auto repair shops so intensely because it brings to light whatever issues that may start as minor but become major if not taken care of promptly. Our auto repair technicians have the technology to properly diagnose the vehicle to find and get rid of any complexities that may be going on within it. Visit our trusted auto repair shop whenever you suspect any issues with the steering system in your vehicle.