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Why Does the Car Steering Wheel Become Harder and Stiffer?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 24/11/2022

Quite literally, the steering wheel helps you steer your car. Seeing how it manages one of the most important functions of a car, drivers need to ensure that their steering wheel remains in the most superior condition. However, there may be occasions that can lead to a steering jam while driving. When you are not used to it, a stiff steering wheel can lead to a lot of panic on the road. In extreme situations, it may even lead to an accident which is why comprehensive car insurance becomes so important. However, hard steering is a way of your car telling you that things are not perfectly well with it. Once you identify the causes of hard steering, you can fix up your vehicle, so it runs smoothly again.

Here are Some Common Causes of Hard Steering

Typically, your power steering is hard to turn because your vehicle has not been serviced recently or it hasn’t been maintained adequately, or certain components have worn down. It is important to learn what has led to a steering jam while driving so you can learn to prevent the issue from escalating. Here are a few common reasons that cause a steering wheel hard to turn at low speeds:

  • Insufficient Power-Steering Fluid

When there is inadequate power steering fluid, it can cause your power steering hard to turn. The fluid is used to lubricate the pump and maintain pressure in the system. A stiff steering wheel may be the cause of the fluid leaking from the pressurised hose area. Until you get the leakage fixed, you can top-up the fluid. However, it is advised not to drive your car for too long without getting the leakage fixed. Driving your car without fixing the leak can result in the failure of the power steering pump, and it can be a highly expensive replacement.

To check the power-steering fluid, you will have to search your car for the power steering reservoir, which is usually marked with a label on the cap. If the cup is made of plastic, you will be able to see the level of the fluid from the outside. Contrarily, if it is a metal cup, you will have to use a dipstick to check whether there is an adequate amount of fluid.

  • Thickened Power Steering Fluid

Another reason why the steering wheel is hard to turn at low speeds is that the power steering fluid has not been replaced for long and has thickened. Just as with any other fluid in your vehicle, the power steering fluid will also have to be replaced from time to time to ensure that your steering turns effortlessly. The power steering fluid can thicken because of the accumulation of dirt and debris, which is why it has to be replaced in a timely manner. When you routinely flush your power steering fluid, you protect your vehicle and safeguard yourself on the roads. And for the rest of your road safety needs, there is comprehensive four-wheeler insurance.

  • Malfunctioning Power Steering Pump

A car’s power steering system comprises two crucial elements: the power steering pump and the rack-and-pinion unit. The function of the power steering pump is to carry the steering fluid to the rack-and-pinion unit. Additionally, the power steering pump ensures that optimum pressure is maintained in the power steering system, so the steering wheel turns seamlessly without exerting any effort. Although the pump is manufactured to last for as many as a thousand miles, it can prematurely fail. Usually, your car will indicate that your steering pump needs to be fixed by screeching while taking sharp turns.

  • Damaged Steering Rack

The rack is a crucial component of the steering unit as it connects the wheel to the system and helps navigate it in the desired direction. The rack is fixed on the steering wheels through a series of U-joints and shafts, and these parts can suffer wear outwith continuous driving. To determine whether it is the rack that is malfunctioning, the driver will have to be attentive to the car and its indications. If it is difficult to steer, but the wheel is turning smoothly, then it might be because the rack is damaged. It is important to get the issue fixed soon to prevent incurring a high cost for repairing and servicing.

  • Broken Serpentine Belt

Hard steering might also be the result of a cracked or broken serpentine belt. When the car is running, the serpentine belt constantly rotates. Using a pulley system and a tensioner, the belt employs rotational power to propel other car accessories. If there is any damage to the belt, not only will it stiffen your wheel, but it can also cause serious damage to the car. Therefore, it is important to get the damages to the serpentine belt fixed as soon as possible.

  • Insufficient Tyre Pressure

Another reason why your steering may be stiffening could be because the pressure in your car tyres is inadequate. This happens because underinflated tyre pressure can lead to a compromised grip between the tyre and the road surface. To maintain the suggested tyre pressure, car owners must check their vehicle manuals and make a note of the recommended PSI to avoid insufficient pressure in the tyres.

To prevent the steering of your car from stiffening, it is advised that your vehicle is serviced at proper intervals. This timely car maintenance extends the life of your car, promises a smooth driving experience, and boosts the performance and mileage of your vehicle.

To Conclude

You cannot always predict what will happen when you are driving. And so, whether your steering stiffens or your car breaks down, four-wheeler insurance can assist you in a host of unpleasant scenarios. In trying times, car insurance is your best companion. Therefore, it is advised to invest in comprehensive four-wheeler insurance after adequately analysing your insurance needs.

Moreover, with the advent of the internet, it has become easy to compare car insurance policies conveniently from your home to find the best cover for your beloved car. The car insurance by Tata AIG takes care of a range of on-road scenarios to offer you wholesome protection and peace of mind.

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