Why the steering wheel is hard to turn?

Why the steering wheel is hard to turn?

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The steering wheel is an essential component of a vehicle that allows the driver to control the direction of the vehicle. However, there are instances when the steering wheel becomes hard to turn, making it difficult for the driver to maneuver the vehicle smoothly. In this article, we will explore the various reasons why the steering wheel can become hard to turn and discuss possible solutions to this problem.

Low Power Steering Fluid

One common reason for a hard-to-turn steering wheel is low power steering fluid. Power steering fluid is responsible for providing hydraulic assistance to the steering system, making it easier to turn the wheel. When the fluid level is low, there may not be enough pressure to assist in turning, resulting in a stiff steering wheel. Checking the power steering fluid level and topping it up if necessary can help alleviate this issue.

Power Steering Pump Issues

Another potential cause of a hard-to-turn steering wheel is a malfunctioning power steering pump. The power steering pump is responsible for generating the hydraulic pressure needed to assist in steering. If the pump is faulty or worn out, it may not be able to provide sufficient pressure, leading to difficulty in turning the wheel. In such cases, the power steering pump may need to be repaired or replaced to restore proper functionality.

Steering Rack Problems

The steering rack is a crucial component that converts the rotational motion of the steering wheel into the linear motion necessary to turn the wheels. If the steering rack is damaged or worn out, it can result in a stiff steering wheel. Common issues with the steering rack include leaks, worn-out bushings, or internal damage. Repairing or replacing the steering rack may be necessary to resolve the problem.

Worn Out or Misaligned Belts

The power steering system relies on belts to transfer power from the engine to the various components, including the power steering pump. If the belts are worn out or misaligned, they may not be able to effectively transfer power, leading to a hard-to-turn steering wheel. Regular inspection and maintenance of the belts can help prevent this issue. If necessary, replacing the belts or adjusting their alignment can restore proper steering functionality.

Other Factors

In addition to the aforementioned common causes, there are other factors that can contribute to a hard-to-turn steering wheel. These include issues with the steering column, a malfunctioning electronic power steering system, or problems with the tires, such as low tire pressure or uneven tire wear. It is important to consider these factors and address them accordingly to ensure optimal steering performance.


A hard-to-turn steering wheel can be a frustrating and potentially dangerous problem for drivers. Low power steering fluid, power steering pump issues, steering rack problems, worn-out or misaligned belts, and other factors can all contribute to this issue. Regular maintenance, including checking fluid levels, inspecting belts, and addressing any potential problems promptly, can help prevent and resolve steering wheel stiffness. If the problem persists, it is advisable to consult a qualified mechanic for further diagnosis and repair.


– carcare.org
– cars.com
– auto.howstuffworks.com