Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Flex Coupling Steering Damper

flex coupling steering damper

A flex coupling, also commonly referred to as a steering damper, is a steering system component that is commonly found on many vehicles. It is a rubber disc that is designed to absorb and dampen vibrations. As a vehicle is driven, vibrations from contact with the ground are transferred through the vehicle’s steering system, up to the steering wheel. It is the job of the flex coupling to absorb these vibrations, which could otherwise cause driver fatigue, and even steering issues. When the flex coupling fails, it can have negative effect on the vehicle’s handling capability, as well as make driving the vehicle uncomfortable. Usually a bad or failing flex coupling will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue.

1. Car is vibrating excessively

One of the early symptoms of a problematic flex coupling is excessive vibration. The flex coupler is designed to absorb and dampen vibrations in the steering column, so if it wears or becomes damaged it may not be able to dampen the vibrations properly. Depending on the severity of the issue, the vibrations may be excessive to the point of causing driver fatigue, from gripping the wheel.

2. Excessive play in the steering wheel

Excessive play in the steering wheel is another symptom of a bad or failing flex coupler. A worn flex coupler may cause play to develop in the steering wheel. You may notice excessive free play before the vehicle begins to actually maneuver when the steering wheel is turned. In more serious cases, the play may be accompanied by a clunking sound coming from the steering column.

3. Steering wheel binding or locking up

Another symptom of a problem with the vehicle’s flex coupler is steering wheel binding or lock up. A severely worn coupler can cause the steering to bind or lock up suddenly when the wheel is turned. This can make the vehicle difficult to steer, and can even make it unsafe to drive. This is usually the final symptom appearing after excessive vibrations and play have already occurred.

Flex couplers are found on many road going vehicles in one form or another, and are very important to the proper operation of the systems that they are a part of. If your vehicle is producing any of the symptoms above, or you suspect that your steering flex coupler may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the car needs a flex coupler replacement.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
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

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed Related Trouble Codes: P2441: EVAP Vent Valve Stuck Open EVAP trouble...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...


Related questions

Q: How do you tilt or extend the steering wheel?

Your steering wheel offers both telescopic and tilt operation. Tilting the wheel lets you get the perfect angle for driving safely. Here’s how to do both. To Tilt: Pull the lever on the bottom of the steering column down....

Q: Whining/No Power Steering

Hi there. This is a common symptom of a power steering pump that may be low on fluid or possibly be failing. As you may know, the power steering pump is a hydraulic pump that requires fluid to build hydraulic...

Q: Steering is extremely tight. Moreso when not moving or moving slow. Rack and pinion was suposedly done

Hello. It sounds like something is mechanically binding and/or you are not getting full power assist. If it is mechanically binding, one cause would be defective strut bearing plates (top of strut in wheel well). You can evaluate that by...