Is Your Steering Column Failing?
The suspension and steering systems on modern cars, SUVs, and trucks serve several functions, from navigating various road conditions to directing the vehicle in the direction you want to travel. The steering column plays a critical role in this process.
But just like any other parts, these columns don’t last a lifetime. How will you know if yours is already failing or going bad? Here are some signs to watch out for:
Table of Contents:
Grinding or Clicking Sounds When You Turn the Steering Wheel
Once you hear grinding, clicking, clunking, or squeaking sounds every time you turn the steering wheel, chances are it comes from the steering column’s bearings or internal gears. This issue often takes place over time so it is likely for you to hear it now and then.
But if the problem occurs all the time while steering, you might want to have the problem checked by a mechanic sooner than later because it is never safe to drive if the steering column of your vehicle is already damaged.
Steering Tilt Function Refuses to Lock
The tilt function is one of the steering wheel’s most convenient parts that let drivers set the location and angle of the wheel for better comfort or more efficient operation. Engaging the function allows the steering wheel to move freely but it should lock into place eventually. It ensures that the steering wheel will be solid while driving and is at the best angle and height for you.
But if the steering wheel fails to lock, it is an urgent warning sign that something is wrong with the column itself or any of the numerous components in it. Never drive your vehicle whatever happens once you notice this problem. An unlocked steering wheel can pose a potentially harmful situation. Call a mechanic right away to check and fix the problem for you.
Steering Wheel Doesn’t Go Back to the Center
Whenever you steer a vehicle, its steering wheel must return automatically to the center or zero-degree level after you make a turn. It is a safety feature introduced with power steering.
When the steering wheel doesn’t automatically return to the middle when you release the wheel, it is most probably the result of a blockage in the steering column or broken gear in the unit. Whatever it is, this problem requires immediate inspection and attention by professional mechanics.
Rough Operation of the Steering Wheel
The power steering components today are meant to operate consistently and smoothly. If the steering wheel feels rough every time you make a turn or there is a certain pop when turning the wheel, the issue is often due to a restriction in the column. Multiple gaskets and gears are located inside the column which helps the steering system work correctly.
Since dust, dirt, and debris can get into the column, items may fall inside, blocking the gears from performing a smooth operation. Once you notice this issue, contact a mechanic to check the steering column and have it fixed right away.