How to Diagnose Steering Problems

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Steering systems have a lot of parts that can wear out, and there are a lot of suspension components which can cause steering problems as well. Putting time into a thorough diagnosis can save you time and money.

Steering Tightness Test

Often called a dry park test, this test can typically be done quite easily. First, park the car on a smooth level surface, and make sure the steering wheel can be turned (some may lock in place when the key is removed). Roll down the window and close the door, so you can see the front wheel while turning the steering wheel. If you have a mirror handy and can set it up in a way that you can see both wheels at the same time, you'll be able to narrow down the source of a problem even faster.

After preparation, move the steering wheel back and fourth, checking for play in the steering. If you can observe both wheels at once, look to see if one moves slightly before the other begins to move. If there is a difference, you've eliminated the steering gear box at the source of the issue, and the side which is slow to react is the side with a worn out component in it.