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Q: Steering wheel stiff and noisy

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

A: Hi there. There are a few different things ...

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.

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