Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Steering Gear Adjuster Plug

adjuster plug

Bad or Failing Steering Gear Adjuster Plug Inspection

by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office

The steering system on any vehicle is comprised of multiple components that work in conjunction to permit the vehicle to safely turn left or right. One of the most overlooked pieces of the steering system is the steering gear adjuster plug, which is located inside the steering box. Over a period of time and with extensive use on and off road, this adjustment device will loosen or break, causing multiple problems from a loose steering wheel to a completely broken steering system.

In order to work efficiently, the steering system must be correctly aligned, and all connects securely tight. This is the job of the steering gear adjuster plug. When the steering gear "lash" is adjusted correctly, the steering will feel responsive, solid and will enhance the overall performance of your vehicle. If the steering gear adjuster plug is loose or broken, it can lead to potentially dangerous driving conditions.

There are several warning signs that any driver can recognize that will alert them to potential problems with the steering gear adjuster plug or components inside the steering box that permit it to operate effectively. Listed below are a few signs to watch for that could signal a bad or failing steering gear adjuster plug.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get an $80 diagnostic
by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

1. Steering wheel feels loose

Although the steering wheel is attached to the steering column, a broken steering gear adjuster plug located inside the steering box can produce a loose steering wheel condition. This is typically recognized by physically being able to move the steering wheel up and down, left to right or in a circular motion inside the steering column. The steering wheel should be solid inside the steering column and never move. As such, when you feel this condition in your steering wheel, contact a certified mechanic as soon as possible, so that they can road test, diagnose and repair the problem immediately.

2. Leaking power steering fluid

Although the steering gear adjuster plug is located inside the steering box, leaking power steering fluid may be a warning sign of a problem with this adjustment device. When the steering gear is loose, it tends to create additional heat inside the steering box, which can cause seals and gaskets to wear prematurely. This is what commonly causes power steering fluid to leak. In fact, most power steering fluid leaks are caused by a malfunctioning steering gear adjuster plug. Power steering fluid can easily identified as it typically has a burnt smell. If you notice power steering fluid on the ground, under your car; contact an ASE certified mechanic to repair this condition before driving too much.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get your car fixed at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

3. Steering wheel is difficult to turn

When the steering gear adjuster plug is faulty, it can also tighten significantly. This will lead to a situation in the steering wheel where it's hard to turn or will feel as if it is fighting your input. If you notice that the steering wheel is much more difficult to turn than normal, it could be caused by the steering gear adjuster plug being too tight. Sometimes a mechanic can simply adjust the clearance of the adjuster plug to correct settings if caught early enough; which is why it's important to contact a mechanic as soon as you notice this problem.

4. Steering wheel shakes while driving

Finally, if you notice that the steering wheel shakes violently while you are driving slower but settles down when you're driving at highway speeds, this is also a symptom of a broken steering gear adjuster plug. When the steering gear is loose it will rattle the steering input shaft, the steering column and eventually the steering wheel as the vehicle begins to move forward. Sometimes this situation will clear up as the vehicle accelerates and in other situations it will get worse the faster you drive.

Anytime you experience shaking in the steering wheel, it's typically due to loose components on your car, from vehicle suspension to tire issues, and sometimes a small mechanical piece like the steering gear adjuster plug. When you notice any of the above warning signs, contact a local ASE certified mechanic so they can properly diagnose the problem and efficiently fix what might be causing the issues.

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

Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...


Related questions

Q: front right tire sounds like a rod or something is broke when hitting bumps, turning and sometimes moving

Hi there. There are quite a few parts that can fail and cause this, but there are two common caused of this. The most common being a bad tie rod end. It can be the outer tie rod end at...

Q: Car hard to turn with a new power steering pump 2007 Ford Taurus

Hi there - I suspect the steering rack may be worn out, and is binding. This would cause the hard steering you are experiencing, regardless of having a new power steering pump. I would recommend a steering system inspection by...

Q: Steering not working

Hello. It sounds like your engine drive belt may have broke. If this occurs your engine accessories will no longer spin causing the steering to be hard and the voltage light to come on due to no charging from the...