4 Common Steering System Issues to Look Out for During Your Auto Repair Career

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When drivers face steering system issues, it can cause serious problems on the road. Problems with a vehicle’s steering can be complicated and must be carefully diagnosed by a professional auto mechanic. The steering system allows for the steering wheel to shift the steering shaft in the vehicle, which in turn allows the wheels to move left or right. There are several steering system issues that a mechanic can look out for when servicing different types of vehicles. 

At ATC Cambridge, an aspiring auto mechanic will get hands-on experience through our Automotive Technology training that will prepare you to service and repair any issues with steering systems. Read on to learn the four common steering system issues you might face in your career as an auto mechanic.

1. Look Out for Power Steering Fluid Leaks in Your Auto Mechanic Career

Low power steering fluid and leaks are usually the main issues when it comes to steering systems. If the steering fluid container was recently refilled but you notice that the container is losing fluid rapidly, that means that there is a leak that needs to be assessed and repaired. At ATC Cambridge, you will gain the expertise that will prepare you to handle power steering fluid leaks in your auto mechanic career. In most cases, you’ll be able to notice the leak underneath the car, as it collects and leaves residue at the front end of the vehicle. 

2. Watch Out for a Worn-Out or Damaged Power Steering Belt

As a professional auto mechanic, you should be able to assess the damage or condition of a power steering belt throughout your auto repair career. The power steering belt is what drives the fluid pump that controls the hydraulic steering of a car, and it is turned by a pulley situated on the crankshaft. When there is damage to the steering belt, the steering wheel may feel heavy or jerky when attempting to steer. In some cases, you’ll be able to tighten the steering belt, but if that is not an option, then replacing the steering wheel belt entirely is the best way to ensure the optimal performance of the whole system.

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In your auto repair career, look out for power steering belt issues when the steering feels heavy or jerky

3. Check that the Wheels Drive Straight

If you notice that the wheels of the car do not stay in a straight line while driving, that means there are issues with the suspension of the car. Suspension issues can be caused by bad strut bearings or tie rods, which are often due to a broken steering rack. Also, when you feel looseness in the wheel, that is also a sign that there are issues with the suspension and that there is excessive tire wear. This will be obvious when driving, as the vehicle may experience sagging and squeaking when driving over bumps and other road obstacles. 

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Looseness in the wheel is a sign of suspension issues

4. A Failing Rack-and-Pinion Steering System is Also Common

You’ll notice throughout your automotive career that most modern vehicles come with a steering system known as the “rack-and-pinion” steering system. The steering wheel has rack mounting bushings attached to it, enabling it to move from side to side, while taking any impact from the suspension. If you notice that there is jerking of the wheel, dull sounds in the steering column of the vehicle or inconsistent steering when driving over bumps and obstacles, then the steering rack may be worn out or damaged and needs to be replaced. 

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