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Q: Jerking of the steering wheel that occasionally becomes locked

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My car was running great, but recently it started to have problems with the steering. With just 8,000 miles, the steering wheel developed slight jerking to the left or right. It started to stick and become blocked, so I had to move it in order to make it work again. At the mechanic's, everything seemed to be fine, but the issue with the steering wheel continued. I noticed that this happens when I drive at the speeds over 50 mph. When I took it to the mechanic's again, the only noticeable problem was that the wheel would go a bit left or right while straightening the vehicle. What could cause the steering to jerk and become locked?

GM has a TSB out for this issue. Basically what the bulletin says is that, due to increased friction in the steering gear, there can be a locked up or notchy feel that can be experienced when the steering wheel is off center - usually after a period of straight line driving and then trying to make a lane change. The bulletin suggests a replacement of the power steering gear which will also require an alignment after steering gear replacement. You can take your car to the dealer to see if they will cover this for you.

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