Steering Components: Should They Be Checked?
Suspension and steering can vary by differing components from vehicle to vehicle, but they all have the same basic parts that make the car operate properly. Wheels and tires, ball joints, bearings, bushings, tie rod ends, shocks, struts, springs, manual or hydraulic power steering, or electrical power steering.
Wheels and tires are pretty much in a class by themselves. They do have the most wear before any other part of the steering system. Wheels and tires work together with the other steering components to bring your car together with the road, but when your car hits a rut or pothole or an object in the road, your wheels and tires feel the impact first. Anytime you have an accident or run over an object or feel an impact with your tires, you should have them checked as soon as possible to ensure that you don't have a blown tire later down the road. Tires should be checked for unusual wear patterns, tread that is wearing thin or excessive cracks, as well as belts showing from within the tire.
Your steering and suspension components should be checked every 45,000 to 55,000 miles to ensure the life of your suspension system. But if acute damage from an accident has occurred, you should have the suspension system checked immediately.
When you start to hear a whining or whirring sound when you turn your steering wheel hard right or left, this could be a sign of a low power steering fluid level. If you don't hear any noise, but your steering wheel becomes difficult to turn, this is also a sign of low power steering fluid.
If your fluids are full and you’re still having issues, then chances are you need to have the steering pump checked, and in rare cases, you may also have a steering gearbox failure. Other major steering components include the power steering pump, pitman arm, and tie rod end. Make sure all of these parts are well-lubricated at all times to avoid issues with your steering system.
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