What Causes a Stiff Steering Wheel

Delaying necessary maintenance and service causes your vehicle to endure additional damage outside of normal wear and tear. Over time, the steering wheel can become stiff and show signs that maintenance is needed. A stiff steering wheel should never be ignored, and should always be addressed as soon as possible. Below are some common reasons why your steering wheel is more rigid than usual: 

The Steering Rack Is Faulty
If the steering wheel feels heavy, there may be a problem with the steering rack. If your vehicle has been exposed to high summer temperatures or excessive road debris, the steering rack can become damaged.  

The Serpentine Belt Is Cracked
If you feel a lot of tension in the steering wheel when you’re turning left or right, this can indicate a crack in the serpentine belt. Wear and tear are natural as the vehicle ages, and the serpentine belt gets worn out quickly. It may need to be replaced altogether.  

The Power Steering Fluid Is Low
The steering wheel will become extremely stiff if there isn’t enough steering wheel fluid. Low steering wheel fluid can be resolved by refilling it. However, don’t let an easy refill distract you from wondering why the steering wheel fluid is low in the first place. There may be a leak, and if there is, a vehicle inspection would be the best first step before a refill. 

The Steering Fluid Has Become Old 
If the vehicle maintenance is neglected and the steering wheel fluid isn’t replaced, it can cause problems. Old steering wheel fluid can become thick and unable to lubricate the steering system properly. This essentially leaves it ineffective. 

The Power Steering Pump Is Damaged
The power steering pump plays a vital role in creating enough pressure to turn the steering wheel. If the power steering pump is damaged, the steering wheel will struggle to turn. 

If the steering wheel is stiff when you’re driving, don’t hesitate to bring your vehicle into McSpadden’s Tire and Automotive. Our family-owned automotive repair shop has been serving Buda, Texas, since 1999. Our ASE certified technicians are experts in the power steering system and would be more than happy to help.