How to Fix the Most Common Steering Issues You’re Likely to See in Your Auto Career

auto mechanic certification

There are a whole range of things that can go wrong in a car and affect steering. Whether it’s a problem with steering fluid, tire pressure, or suspension, steering issues can make a car incredibly dangerous to drive.

Driving a car with ineffective steering can be life-threatening because the driver doesn’t have full control and could be unable to turn or swerve when necessary.

During auto mechanic training, you will gain hands-on experience fixing steering issues. Discover more about the most common problems here.

Fixing Hard Steering When You Become an Auto Mechanic

A car with hard steering is difficult to turn and the steering wheel may feel stiff. This could be due to a variety of problems which you may learn about when studying for your auto mechanic certification.

One common reason for hard steering is a lack of power steering fluid. An auto mechanic should check the level of the power steering fluid and also check for any leakage.

If a car has problems with hard steering it could be due to the power steering system
If a car has problems with hard steering it could be due to the power steering system

It could also be caused by problems with the power steering. Most modern cars have power steering which makes them easier to turn. To check for problems with the power steering, you should check the pump belt and the steering assembly while someone starts the engine and turns the wheel.

Diagnosing Unusual Noises When a Car Turns

If a vehicle rattles or squeaks when a driver attempts to turn, this is a sign of a serious problem with the engine or car components and should be investigated as soon as possible. Unless you’re racing around corners, a car should be able to turn almost silently.

A car should be able to turn around corners silently, unless you’re speeding!
A car should be able to turn around corners silently, unless you’re speeding!

A squeaking sound indicates that there is a lack of lubrication between the steering linkage and ball joints. It could also be a problem with the tie rods, which connect the steering arm to the steering rack and make the wheels turn as you move the steering wheel.

A rattling noise suggests that the system parts have become loose over time and are no longer tightly fixed.

If the car makes a noise at low speeds, the problem is probably with the power steering system or the suspension, whereas if the noises occur at high speeds, the problem is most likely with the joints.

To fix steering wheel noises, an auto mechanic will need to check the suspension system and steering system to see what parts need to be lubricated, fixed, or replaced.

Preventing the Car from Pulling to One Side

Another common steering issue that you are likely to encounter in your auto career is a car that pulls to the left or right when driving. To identify the cause you need to know whether the issue happens whenever the car is moving, or only when braking or accelerating.

Where a car pulls to one side at all times, it is most likely linked to uneven tire pressure. If the tire pressure is lower on one side this will affect the tire height, causing the car to slant to the left or right. If you have recently changed a tire, the problem could be caused by a different tread on the new tire. For this reason, it’s best to replace tires in pairs with the new tires at the rear of the car.

If the car pulls when braking or accelerating it is more likely to do with the suspension and parts. If there is a burning smell as well as a pulling sensation after braking, it is most likely a dragging brake. Or, if the car pulls whenever you accelerate, this is a problem known as torque steer.

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