Q: Steering wheel stiff and noisy

asked by on February 23, 2016

The steering wheel becomes really stiff once in awhile and makes a squeaking noise when I steer at steep turns.

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 typically start a diagnosis by checking the tension on the belt. If the belt is not tight, or if the tensioner is not holding tension, then I would replace the tensioner and the belt if it is worn out. If the belt tension is fine, then I check the fluid level. If the fluid level is good but it is dirty then I would change out the fluid in the power steering system. The old fluid may be clogging the inside of the pump or in the rack and pinion. If the new fluid does not help, then the issue may be a failing pump. The best way to diagnose this is with a pressure gauge installed to the pump. If the pump pressure is low, then the pump should be replaced. If you are looking to have this checked, consider YourMechanic, as a certified mechanic can come to your home or office to diagnose your steering wheel and make repairs that are needed.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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

Low oil pressure warning light coming on.

Is your engine oil level full? Older engines will use some oil between oil changes. If you go too long between oil changes it is possible that the engine could use enough oil that it would cause the level to...

Car turns off for a second or two while at a stop

This may be caused by many different things, however what is most common given this kind of symptom may be a dirty or failing idle air control valve. This is a unit that monitors air intake as it is mixed...

Bent front axle/tire

Hey there. You might be able to drive the car indefinitely at low speeds, say 35 MPH or below. However, if you are truly seeing that the tire/wheel assembly is out of position, the tire will be quickly destroyed, regardless...

Related articles

How to Replace a Steering Damper
Steering dampers, also known as steering stabilizers or spirit dampers, prevent movement from traveling to the steering wheel.
Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Drag Link
Common signs include uneven tire wear, steering wheel vibration or feeling loose, and unwanted drifting to the left or right.
How to Buy a Good Quality Steering Wheel Lock
If If security is something that you worry about where your car is concerned, then you've probably considered a steering wheel lock. These can be used to prevent someone from stealing your car, because even if they manage to break...