Things to Know if Your Car's Steering Locks Up in Salem, OR

The steering wheel is one of the components of your vehicle that you'll be in contact with most often, which means that you're likely to notice even subtle changes in how it feels. While some may ignore these changes, they may actually be signs of trouble, and catching them early enough can save you a good deal of stress. If you notice any of the issues below, have your Toyota inspected at an authorized service center like ours at Capitol Toyota.

A failed power steering system can make steering harder 

4. The Wheel Is Hard To Turn While Driving

If your steering wheel suddenly gets much harder to turn, it's likely due to a problem with the power steering system. On most vehicles, this hydraulic system makes steering a heavy vehicle much easier, and it requires a specific power steering fluid in order to function. A power steering fluid leak is one of the more common problems you could have with a power steering system, but there are others. The pulley could become worn, for example, or the power steering pressure sensor may have gone bad. However, the latest Toyota models are starting to come with electric power steering. If you have trouble with the steering in one of these models, you'll probably want to get the experts involved.

A shaky steering wheel can be caused by bad steering or suspension components 

3. Steering Wheel Shakes When I Drive

There are a number of things that could cause your vehicle's steering wheel to shake, and none of them are particularly good. The tires may be unbalanced or the alignment of the wheels may be incorrect, or the wheel bearings may be worn. Steering components like the tie rods or control arms may be worn. Or, the suspension may have problems. Damaged components in the suspension can be unsafe, so have this looked at immediately.

2. Steering Wheel Feels Loose

A steering wheel that feels loose may be caused by a damaged tie rod or ball joints that have become worn. Keep an eye out also for uneven tire wear and a clunking noise when you turn the steering wheel, especially at lower speeds. These signs should be taken seriously, as they could cause the steering to fail.

If your wheel keeps pulling to one side, it may be due to poor alignment 

1. Steering Wheel Pulls to One Side

A steering wheel that pulls to one side or the other as you drive is usually a sign of misaligned wheels. This means that the wheels aren't all pointing exactly where they should be. Wheels fall out of alignment naturally over time as you drive, though obstacles like potholes can speed up this process. Ignoring this problem can have negative consequences. A temporary lapse in focus may cause your car to veer into another lane or to the side of the road. In addition to being dangerous, it's an expensive problem, since your tires will wear out unevenly and need to be replaced sooner.