Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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

asked by on

I bought a 2003 Nissan Altima s 2.5. The guy said he (or someone?? he's a hack dealer with no warranties) replaced the rack and pinion and tie rod or tie rod ends? The steering is extremely tight when started in park or moving slow. Steers OK when driving. But otherwise really tight. He said the steering fluid was black so he changed that. I can see it flowing while car is running and its clean. Any ideas what is causing this?

My car has 132000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

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 jacking up car and having an assistant turn the wheel left and right (car does not have to be on since all of the weight is off of the wheels).

You should not see the strut jumping or binding as you turn the wheels from side-to-side (remove wheels from car as it will be easier to see the range of motion). It is also "possible" that the rack is damaged (i.e., bent and thus gear inside does not operate smoothly.) Another possibility is the hydraulic assist not functioning fully due to a power steering pump issue, or hose or valve issue. Pressures in the system could be tested to see if that is a cause. Apart from the just described visual inspection of how the strut bearings are functioning, your best bet is to have an expert, like one from YourMechanic, inspect the steering and suspension in order to pinpoint the issue.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  • Home
  • Questions
  • Steering is extremely tight. Moreso when not moving or moving slow. Rack and pinion was suposedly done

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Steering wheel has a lot of "play" or movement.

Hi there. The first thing you would need to do is perform a dry park steering test. Have someone get in the car and set the parking brake. Then have them start the engine and turn the steering wheel left...

Q: Information on replacement parts

Hi, thanks for writing in. There are a vast variety of companies out on the market that make aftermarket brake pads and wheel bearings for nearly every car on the market including your Jeep. Just be sure to identify the...

Q: Steering wheel stiff and noisy

Hi there. There are a few different things that can go wrong and cause this. Most of the time, if it is intermittent it is due to a belt that is coming loose or a clog in the system. I...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
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...