Why is my steering wheel so hard to turn?

Why is my steering wheel so hard to turn?


If you’ve ever experienced difficulty turning your steering wheel, you may have wondered why it feels so hard to maneuver. A stiff or hard-to-turn steering wheel can be frustrating and even dangerous, as it can affect your ability to control your vehicle. In this article, we will explore some of the common reasons why a steering wheel may be hard to turn and discuss potential solutions.

Low Power Steering Fluid

One of the most common causes of a stiff steering wheel is low power steering fluid. Power steering fluid is essential for the smooth operation of your steering system. When the fluid level is low, it can result in increased effort required to turn the wheel. To check the power steering fluid level, locate the reservoir under the hood and refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the correct procedure. If the fluid is low, simply adding more power steering fluid may resolve the issue.

Power Steering Pump Issues

Another potential cause of a hard-to-turn steering wheel is a problem with the power steering pump. The power steering pump is responsible for generating the hydraulic pressure needed to assist with steering. If the pump is failing or not functioning properly, it can result in a stiff steering wheel. In such cases, it may be necessary to have the power steering pump inspected and potentially replaced by a qualified mechanic.

Steering Gear Problems

The steering gear, also known as the steering rack, plays a crucial role in the steering system. If there is a problem with the steering gear, such as a worn-out gear or damaged seals, it can cause difficulty in turning the steering wheel. In such cases, professional inspection and repair may be necessary to resolve the issue.

Worn Out or Misaligned Belt

The power steering system relies on a belt to transfer power from the engine to the power steering pump. If the belt is worn out or misaligned, it can result in a lack of power assistance, making the steering wheel harder to turn. Regular inspection and maintenance of the belt can help prevent this issue. If the belt is damaged or misaligned, it should be replaced or adjusted accordingly.

Other Potential Causes

In addition to the aforementioned common causes, there are other potential factors that can contribute to a hard-to-turn steering wheel. These include problems with the suspension system, damaged or worn-out steering components, or even issues with the tires. If you have ruled out the more common causes and are still experiencing difficulty turning the steering wheel, it is advisable to have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic to diagnose and address the specific issue.


A hard-to-turn steering wheel can be a frustrating and concerning problem. Low power steering fluid, power steering pump issues, steering gear problems, worn-out or misaligned belts, and other factors can all contribute to this issue. Regular maintenance, such as checking fluid levels and inspecting belts, can help prevent some of these problems. However, if you are experiencing persistent difficulty turning your steering wheel, it is best to consult a professional mechanic for a thorough inspection and appropriate repairs.


– autoservicecosts.com
– carcare.org
– repairpal.com