Car Maintenance 101: Diagnosing Your Car’s Steering Problems (Part II)

October 14, 2008

Note to Reader 2: Obviously, it pays to keep your steering components in mint condition. Because of the location of your steering mechanisms, it’s a bit tougher to inspect these parts every week. But that’s no reason for you to simply forget about this component altogether. The moment you “feel” that there’s something wrong with your transmission/steering mechanisms while you’re driving, it’s always best to address these problems head-on rather than wait for your ride to break down completely. The following are other symptoms and possible causes behind your steering problems.

If your steering wheel starts vibrating when you accelerate, or when your steering wheel vibrates even while you’re going straight at a steady speed…

There are many reasons why your steering wheel “fights” your grip. Sometimes as you drive through your freeway, you may run into bumps and potholes that will cause your wheel to turn sharply immediately. This is why it pays to keep your eyes forward and to keep a steady hand on your wheel. But if you’re moving on smooth pavement with no road humps or bumps in sight, and your steering wheel continues to fight your grip, then you may have:

Possible Cause: wheels that are already out of balance.

Possible Solution: Take your car to the local garage to have your wheels re-balanced and realigned.

Possible Cause: Your wheels may be prying loose due to loose bolts.

Possible Solution: If you’re on the freeway, head to the emergency bay to inspect your lugs. Look at your wheel lugs to determine if they need tightening.

Possible Cause: You may have damaged brake discs.

Possible Solution: This coming weekend, take the time to inspect your braking system and to replace your rotors if necessary.

Possible Cause: Worn treading on your wheels or your tires are starting to wear unevenly.

Possible Solution: Check your tires if you need to replace them if the treading is all but gone. Also keep in mind that uneven wear and tear on your tires is a symptom of a bigger problem. Check your wheel alignment and balance to determine if it’s time to take your car to the shop.

If you hear a clunking noise each time you go through the road bump…

It’s actually not just clunking noise but also knocking on your steering wheel. The moment you hear these sounds, it’s time for you to check your steering mechanism for trouble. Your car may have…

Possible Cause: Damaged strut bearings.

Possible Solution: Check your strut bearings for signs of wear and tear. If the damage is extensive, consider replacing both your strut bearings as soon as possible. Remember, like most of the other “paired” components in your car, when one auto unit breaks down, the other is not far behind.

Possible Cause: A broken strut assembly or worn shock absorbers.

Possible Solution: Inspect your suspension for signs of trouble. If you experience frequent swaying, bottoming out, and bouncing each time you go through road irregularities, then it’s time for you to repair or replace these components.

Possible Cause: Broken ball joints.

Possible Solution: Do check out your ball joints for signs of wear. If the damage is severe, replace this component immediately!

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