A car that can experience steering wheel stiffness

Steering Wheel Stiffness: A Common Car Issue

The steering wheel is what gives you direct control of the direction that you’re driving. That being said, it’s quite an important part of the car. When your steering wheel becomes hard to turn it directly affects your ability to drive. So, what’s going on? What could be causing this steering wheel stiffness?

Reasons for Steering Wheel Stiffness Include:

1. Leaky Fluid

This is the most common problem among people who are experiencing steering wheel stiffness. This occurs when fluid leaks from the pressurized hose or when the hose becomes cracked or loose. In any case, the power steering fluid is required to pressurize the system and lubricate the pump and allow the power steering system to function properly. If you don’t have enough fluid or a faulty hose then you should have a mechanic check it out immediately before you put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation or cause further damage to the power steering system.

2. Pump Failure

The power steering system in a car is composed of a few parts and if one fails then the whole system doesn’t work. The pump is the part of the system that creates the pressure that allows you to turn the steering wheel smoothly. If the pump breaks you will still be able to turn the wheel, it’ll just be very stiff.

3. Bad Steering Rack

The steering rack & pinion is made of two parts: the pinion and the rack. The steering rack becomes worn out over time just from the repeated use of your vehicle. A telltale sign of this happening is when the steering wheel is stiff just after you’ve started your vehicle. The longer your engine runs, the hotter it becomes allowing the lubricant to settle and your steering to become less stiff.  However, if you are experiencing this issue you should have an ASE certified technician inspect your system as there may be danger ahead.

4. Power Steering Fluid Replacement

Your car needs regular replacements of its fluids for good and consistent use. You probably know this from checkups from a mechanic and them asking if you’d also like an oil change. Beyond this, you need to change all fluids at some point or another. If your power steering is stiff it might just be that you need to empty out the power steering fluid and replace it.

5. Broken Serpentine Belt

This is one of the more important, and common causes of wheel stiffness. Since this belt is being used constantly while driving it gets worn down rather quickly. When it becomes loose the power steering becomes stiffened. If this is a problem for you, see a mechanic as soon as you can because if it snaps you will lose complete control of the steering!


Since steering is such an integral part of driving it’s important to make sure that all parts of the power steering system are in top check. If you are experiencing any troubles with your power steering let a mechanic look at it, it is their job after all. A Plus Transmission & Auto Repair is Brighton, MI’s home for complete automotive repair. From transmission repair to power steering repair A Plus Transmission is your one-stop auto repair shop. You can find us at 4355 S. Old US Hwy 23 in Brighton, MI or contact us on the web or at 810.229.7878!



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