The ability to steer your vehicle accurately and with little effort is crucial to making your driving experience safe and enjoyable. When something goes wrong with the car that interferes with the driver's ability to steer, it is more than an annoyance. In fact, some common signs of a developing steering problem can be a serious threat to the safety of the driver and their passengers, as well as other vehicles and their occupants who are on the same course of travel. If you have noticed a change in the way your vehicle steers, there are some things you should know to make sure your driving experience is a safe one.
A car that is in good mechanical condition should never vibrate when being driven unless the road surface is unusually rough and uneven. Drivers who are traveling on a relatively smooth road surface and begin to feel vibrations as they grip the wheel should suspect that their car has developed one of the following problems:
- a wheel alignment issue, which can be due to worn tires, suspension, or steering components, as well as damage from previously driving over curbs or potholes
- power steering pump failure, including low fluid levels or a broken power steering line
- tie rod and ball joint failures
If the vibration is only when applying the brakes, the cause may be within the car's braking system, such as a stuck emergency brake, a worn brake rotor, or a failed brake pad.
A vehicle that emits a squealing noise when the steering wheel is turned may be experiencing a problem with the power steering system or the serpentine belt. If the squealing is associated with a sudden difficulty in steering, drivers should suspect that the belt has already broken or is losing tension and about to break.
Vehicles are equipped with a gearbox that helps to control and ease the steering process. This component directly controls the way the car's front wheels respond to the driver's attempts to move the car in a particular direction. If these gears become damaged or worn, they may no longer mesh correctly and will begin to make a grinding noise as the metal gears grate against each other.
Drivers who have noted these or other steering issues while driving their car should immediately schedule an appointment with a reputable auto repair service technician in their area. This automotive professional will assess the vehicle to see what may be happening and then help the vehicle owner decide on the best repair option to make sure that their car continues to be safe to drive.
For more information, contact an auto repair shop near you.Share