Whilst arguably the engine and brakes are the most important parts of a vehicle, without fully functioning steering a vehicle is neither usable nor safe. It is therefore imperative to pay close attention to your car's steering function and if you have any concerns that your steering has changed, get it checked as soon as possible. Early signs of steering problems could present in the form of your vehicle pulling to one side or the steering becoming looser or stiffer than normal.
It could be something very simple and easy to fix
Your car's steering can be affected by something as simple as low tyre pressure. A key indicator that this might be the problem is when the steering becomes harder at lower speeds. All vehicles come with a recommended pressure for the tyres which can normally be found in the handbook or can be quickly verified by the manufacturer. Driving with the incorrect tyre pressure places excess strain on your steering system and additional wear on your tyres, so check your tyre pressure regularly. After all, if you've just had a new set of premium tyres from a manufacturer such as Bridgestone or Pirelli fitted, the last thing you want is to wear them needlessly due to something so easily fixed.
Other possible reasons for steering changes
Low power steering fluid:
This fluid that transfers and amplifies steering direction throughout the steering system. Changes in the pressure in this system mean your car's steering will not operate as you would expect. If in checking the level you discover this fluid is discoloured, then in our experience you would benefit from a free steering check with a qualified professional.
Power steering belt:
If this belt has become damaged or loose in some way, the power steering pump may not be driven correctly, making it feel much harder to control. This, in turn, can affect the steering performance of your car and cause strain to other steering elements.
Power steering pump:
Heaviness to the feel of your steering could also stem from a problem with your power steering pump. The pump works by pumping the power steering fluid to the steering gear itself. The pump is essential as it distributes and pressurises the power steering fluid, enabling the steering system to work effectively.
Car steering rack:
If your car feels very stiff shortly after starting the engine but loosens up early in your drive as the car warms up, then this may indicate a problem with the steering rack.
What to do if you suspect a problem with your vehicle's steering system
If you have checked that your tyres are at the correct pressure and in good repair but you are still having issues, or you have any concerns with your steering, then don't delay in getting your vehicle seen by a professional at your nearest Protyre garage. In our experience, a free steering check can swiftly put your mind at ease and identify any issues that can be rectified before they become a significant safety concern. Contact your local Protyre garage today to book your free steering check and take advantage of our years of experience to give you peace of mind for the road ahead.