How to Test if Your Steering is Becoming Loose

It goes without saying that being able to steer your car is vitally important. Ignoring the warning signs that your steering is becoming loose can, of course, have catastrophic consequences.

Here we take a look at what you need to be aware of and what to do if you encounter a problem.

The Signs That Your Steering is Loose

Whether you have a new car or an older model, a little awareness will make a big difference. It’s often exhibited when you overturn the wheel which can cause vibration. For example, you may have to constantly adjust the steering to stop from veering to one side or another.

Another sign is if you hear a knocking noise when you hit a bump or notice a slight or obvious shimmy at higher speeds.

These warning signs mean that you need to have your steering checked as a matter of urgency. At best, having loose steering means you’ll put unnecessary wear and tear on your tyres. At worst, it could lead to a sudden part separation leading to a bad accident.

Damaged steering can be very dangerous and is something that cannot be ignored. Even if you are not completely sure, you should have the matter investigated at the earliest opportunity by a qualified mechanic.

Diesel cars

Checking the Steering Yourself

You may want to do some simple checks first before you visit a mechanic, though it is recommended to get the vehicle checked by a professional anyway, just to be sure. Plus, the equipment needed is not always easily available.

You will need to check the visible steering box which will entail putting your car up on a set of ramps and getting underneath the vehicle. Be sure to do this on a flat surface and to engage the handbrake properly. If you’re not used to doing this, it’s much safer to go straight to a garage.

First, check the top cover gasket underneath the bonnet and make sure that it is secure and there isn’t a problem there. If some of the bolts are loose you can tighten them but make sure you don’t turn the adjusting screw in error.

Next, it’s time to get under the car and check the steering box. You’ll need someone to sit in the car and turn the steering wheel gently. Check for signs of wear as well as any leaks (if the oil level is low it’s usually a good sign). If there are obvious signs of wear, cracks or leaks, it’s important to get yourself to a garage as soon as possible so the steering box can be replaced.

It’s a little more difficult to judge ‘free play’. You need to turn the steering wheel while the car is stationary. You should not be able to turn the steering wheel more than 7 cm before the wheels begin to move.

Diesel cars

Checking your own steering can be pretty complicated; it’s much better to bring your car into Queens Park Garage in Bournemouth for a professional check.

If you are concerned about your steering, contact our professional team of mechanics today to book yourself in.

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You can leave your car with us or wait in our comfortable reception with free wi-fi, free refreshments as well as viewing panel and CCTV so you can watch us while we work on your car.

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