Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Long Does a Steering Column Last?

Steering Column

Your car’s steering wheel is the key to maneuvering on the road, into parking spaces and more. However, it doesn’t do its job alone. In fact, it’s only one part of many in the steering system. The steering column is a crucial component – and it’s much more than just a collection of plastic pieces used to protect the intermediate shaft.

Your car’s steering column includes a number of different components. It provides a mounting location for the steering wheel, as well as the universal joint necessary to let the wheel turn freely in any direction. The column also attaches to the intermediate shaft (a series of tightly fitting splines keeps the two mated together). This way, when you turn the steering wheel, the steering column turns, turning the intermediate shaft, and then activating the steering gear to turn the wheels.

Other components in the steering column include the tilt and telescope mechanism that lets you adjust the steering wheel to your preferred position, as well as the ignition housing. Obviously, it’s a critical piece for your car. You use the steering column every time you drive, but it’s not subject to the same type of wear and tear as other components.

In fact, your car’s steering column should last for the life of the vehicle. With that being said, if you drive very frequently, particularly on curvy roads, you’ll put more wear and tear on it than someone who primarily drives on the interstate, or drives very little.

The most common problems with steering columns, other than damage to the plastic cladding, is wear to the universal joint, which can make it start to bind. This will make it hard to turn the steering wheel, and you may not have a full range of motion. The splines connecting the steering column to the intermediate shaft will also wear over time, creating a “loose” feeling in the wheel.

Given the critical nature of the steering column, it’s vital to know a few symptoms of impending failure. These include:

  • The steering wheel does not turn as far as it should
  • The steering wheel binds midway through a turn
  • The steering wheel feels “loose”
  • You hear a clunking when turning the wheel
  • Turning the wheel makes a squealing or creaking noise

If you’re experiencing any of these issues, you may need to look at replacing your steering column. Have a certified mechanic inspect the steering column and other components of your car to see what repairs need to be made.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222 code means The manufacturer specifies a range of acceptable voltage to be produced from the throttle position...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...


Related questions

Q: Steering Lock

Hello. Thank you for writing in. The first thing we need to know is if the steering wheel is actually locked. Does it spin freely to both sides? If not the wheel is locked and you do need to unlock...

Q: Steering wheel hard to turn after alternator replacement

Have the system scanned to see what is causing the light to turn on first. The low voltage conditions might have caused the problem and would need diagnosis of the code to fix the issue. Your power steering pump may...

Q: Steering pulls to the left, dangerous problem to have

This seems to be a fairly common problem with the 2013 Optima. It may be caused by incorrect calibration of the Steering Angle Sensor or it may be related to a mechanical issue with the suspension or tires. I would...