Causes of Hard Steering Wheel: Understanding the Symptoms and Solutions

causes of hard steering wheel

causes of hard steering wheel

Having a smooth and responsive steering wheel is crucial for safe and enjoyable driving. However, there are instances when the steering wheel becomes stiff and difficult to turn, making maneuvering the vehicle a challenging task.

In this blog post, we will explore the various causes of a hard steering wheel, their symptoms, and potential solutions to address the issue effectively.

Causes of Hard Steering Wheel

Here are some possible causes behind hard steering wheel:

1) Low Power Steering Fluid Levels

  • Insufficient power steering fluid can cause hard steering.
  • Symptoms: Increased effort required to turn the wheel, squealing noise, and jerky steering movements.
  • Solution: Check the power steering fluid reservoir and top up if necessary, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.

2) Power Steering Pump Failure

  • A malfunctioning power steering pump can lead to hard steering.
  • Symptoms: Whining or grinding noise from the pump, increased resistance when turning the wheel, and leakage.
  • Solution: Inspect the power steering pump for any damage or leaks. If necessary, replace the pump with a new one.

3) Belt or Belt Tensioner Issues

  • Damaged or loose belts or tensioners can affect the power steering system’s performance.
  • Symptoms: Squealing noise from the engine, difficulty in steering, and other accessory malfunctions.
  • Solution: Inspect the belts and tensioner for wear, damage, or misalignment. Replace or adjust as needed.

4) Steering Gear Malfunction

  • Problems with the steering gear mechanism can cause stiffness in the steering wheel.
  • Symptoms: Excessive play or looseness in the wheel, clunking noise while turning, and uneven tire wear.
  • Solution: Have a professional mechanic inspect the steering gear system for any faults or damage. Repair or replace the steering gear if necessary.

5) Steering Column Issues

  • Faulty components within the steering column can contribute to hard steering.
  • Symptoms: Binding or sticking feeling in the wheel, clicking noises when turning, and intermittent loss of power assist.
  • Solution: Consult a qualified technician to inspect and repair the steering column components, including the intermediate shaft, universal joint, or any other faulty parts.

6) Malfunctioning Electronic Power Steering (EPS) System

  • If your vehicle is equipped with an EPS system, electronic failures can cause hard steering.
  • Symptoms: Loss of power assist, warning lights on the dashboard, and difficulty in steering.
  • Solution: Consult a professional mechanic to diagnose and repair any issues with the EPS system. This may involve replacing sensors, modules, or recalibrating the system.

7) Front Suspension Problems

  • Worn or damaged front suspension components can affect the steering system’s performance.
  • Symptoms: Uneven tire wear, excessive bouncing or vibration, and difficulty in steering.
  • Solution: Have the front suspension components, such as control arms, ball joints, or bushings, inspected and replaced if necessary.


Experiencing a hard steering wheel can be a frustrating and potentially dangerous situation while driving. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and appropriate solutions, you can address the issue promptly and ensure your vehicle’s steering system functions optimally.

If you don’t understand the actual reason behind this, it is always recommended to seek the assistance of a professional mechanic to diagnose and resolve the problem effectively.

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