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Through time, steering columns have gone from fixed positions to manual adjustments – tilt, level and more. However, many vehicles today offer more than this. They have the ability to adjust up and down, telescope out for shorter drivers, and more. With advanced electronics, these systems can be programmed with several different presets, allowing individual drivers to simply touch a button and have the steering column adjust to their preferences in terms of tilt and reach. This movement is provided by the steering column motor that receives power from the body control module to activate the motor until the set position has been achieved. Typically, a steering column motor has a worm gear inside that allows for minute adjustments in height and extension. If the steering column tilt motor fails, the steering wheel will not reposition to the height or extension you try to set.
Steering column components (including the adjustment motors) are sensitive equipment and should only be repaired or replaced by professional mechanics. While steering column motor failure is rare, it does happen. Gears can strip and wear, actuators and solenoids can fail, and other problems such as wiring harness issues can manifest. We recommend having one of our expert mechanics troubleshoot the issue and repair it if required.
While a failed steering column motor won’t prevent you from driving, it can be very inconvenient, particularly if you require a different position to drive safely. We recommend having your vehicle diagnosed as soon as possible if you’re experiencing problems with the steering column. One of our expert mechanics will be able to determine which components are failing or have failed, and recommend the next course of action. Note that the problem can be as simple as a failed switch, so problems with column adjustment do not necessarily indicate a problem with the motor itself.