Sometimes people worry that there is something wrong with the steering of their car.
Of course, a problem with your steering could be serious or fatal if left unattended. However, the good news is that in many cases symptoms are more commonly associated with other causes rather than problematic steering systems.
Unless you are an expert motor mechanic, you should always get potential steering problems diagnosed and remedied (or your mind put at rest) by a qualified garage.
Don’t put that off and if you need transport desperately, rent a limo or car rather than risk driving a vehicle you are uncertain of.
Vibrations through the steering column and steering wheel
A very common cause of this comes from tyres and wheels that are unbalanced. Typically the faster you are travelling, the more pronounced the vibrations might become.
Your vehicle is pulling to the right or left when driving
A key question to ask here is whether or not the problem is consistent. Sometimes a camber in the road will cause your vehicle to try and ‘drift’ to the right or left and once again, problems with tyre pressures or wheel balance can be common causes of this worrying symptom.
One thing you can do is to take your car to a quiet and deserted large car park on a Sunday and try driving very slowly in a straight line with your hands hovering fractionally above the steering wheel. If the surface appears to be flat and level but the car is trying to turn to the right or left, then there is a problem requiring attention.
Sometimes, if you are breaking relatively hard, your car might try to pull right or left.
This is probably a more likely indication of something being wrong with your brakes rather than steering but it should be professionally investigated as soon as possible.
If you find that you are turning the steering wheel right or left and are experiencing ‘unusual’ delays in feeling the car responding, then that may well be a more serious indication of possible steering problems.
Yet again, this should be investigated by an expert garage immediately.
Reducing steering fluid levels
There may be considerable differences here between different types of car but if yours has a reservoir marked for break and steering fluid and you are constantly having to top it up, then there is potentially a leak somewhere in the system and that could be dangerous.
Unusual noises when steering
Most modern and relatively modern vehicles have steering systems that should be largely silent.
If you are hearing rattles, creaks and squeaking when you are turning the wheel, that is not normal.
Anyone much over the age of about 40 can remember the days when power assisted steering was a comparative rarity on ordinary cars and muscle power was sometimes needed to turn the steering wheel.
Those days have now largely disappeared and if you find that you need to go on muscle-building exercise programmes to develop the biceps necessary to steer your car then yet again it’s time to get it into a shop.
Remember, defective steering might cost you your life. So, take the matter seriously and don’t take chances for the sake of saving a few dollars in garage costs.