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What Makes a Car’s Steering Wheel Hard and Stiff?

The main reasons for a stiff steering wheel are the lack of maintenance, late servicing, and wearing off of some components. You should know the reasons why your car's steering wheel gets stiff as it will help you to spot the signs early and take preventive measures or the vehicle to the service centre. Don't just sit there and wait for the situation to get worse as it can put you in trouble.

Imagine you are trying to change lanes and realize that the steering wheel is jammed and not turning smoothly all of a sudden. This can cause an accident where you and the other party involved can get severely injured.

Without your car's steering system, you could only drive in a straight line, no turns, no changing lanes. A difficulty with your steering wheel can also hamper your car's performance and can put your safety at risk.

Here are a few common causes of your car's steering wheel getting hard and stiff to turn -

Low power steering fluid

The most common cause of a stiff steering wheel is the lack of enough power steering fluid in the system. This condition can arise if there's fluid leakage from the pressurized hose area. Refilling the liquid in the power steering tank will fix the problem for the time being, but the leak must be taken care of.

Thick power steering fluid

Like all other types of fluid in a vehicle, power steering fluid can also go bad with use. It can become too thick or lose its essential capability to lubricate.  You should follow your car manufacturer's recommendation on when to change your power steering fluid. The thickening of liquid makes it difficult for you to turn the steering wheel at low speeds. The only solution is to flush the bad fluid and refill it with fresh fluid.

Faulty power steering pump

The power steering pump produces the right amount of pressure required to turn the steering wheel effortlessly. In case if there's a problem in the pump, it becomes challenging to turn the steering wheel, especially at a low pace. Also, sometimes, when the steering pump doesn't work correctly, it yields a buzzing noise when you turn your steering wheel. Get the pump checked by a professional mechanic once you encounter these symptoms.

Damaged serpentine belt

Cracking or breaking of the serpentine belt is another common cause of a stiff steering wheel. The wheel starts showing the sign of stiffness when the belt begins to wear down and becomes slack. Repair or replace the belt as soon as possible as delaying can cause the belt to break, making the steering wheel to go kaput.

Defective steering rack

Due to extreme exposure to temperatures and road debris, your car's steering rack gets damaged. Damaged inner bushings and cause the system to spring a leak. The leak is then accumulated by dirt, thereby destroying the steering rack and gear.

Apart from these causes, several other reasons can stiffen your steering wheel. It is advisable to take your car for regular servicing and never ignore these signs. Also, insure your vehicle with a car insurance policy. A car insurance policy comes with several features like cashless network garages, roadside assistance, etc.  Now you can easily buy or renew car insurance online without any paperwork.

Insure your car; assure your wallet!