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

asked by on December 03, 2016

My 2005 Subaru Legacy GT has suddenly given me a very unresponsive steering issue. It gets worse as speed increases. It feels like I'm sliding sometimes, as if I'm on ice and the tires don't have any traction. I turn the wheel and the car doesn't turn until it "catches" and sometimes jerks or slightly swerves. The steering wheel doesn't return to center and isn't aligned with the direction of travel.

I recently had some installs done at Car Toys. An auxiliary cord and a remote start system. I don't think fuses and electrical work could affect steering, but I'm obviously not an expert. It's just odd that less than a week later, this problem occurs. I also took the car to my mechanic about a month ago and replaced the entire power steering rack. I hope this has no direct correlation.

My first guess is the bushings. The car has 200k plus miles and is completely stock.

My car has 220000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

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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 and right just to when the wheels begin to move. Look under the vehicle at the steering system and see what is moving. If you had your rack and pinion system replaced a month ago and all of a sudden you have a loose steering, either the ball joints on the end are loose or the bushings on the rack and pinion are missing or damaged. Fix or replace what is moving. If you need further assistance with your steering wheel moving and the tires not moving, then seek out a professional, such as one from Your Mechanic, to help you.

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