Is your vehicle's steering unstable? 4 potential causes and how to fix them

22 July 2019
 Categories: , Blog

Have you ever tried making a turn with your vehicle and it veers off track? Or any time you put your hands off the steering wheel, your vehicle suddenly moves in one direction? These are symptoms of steering complications.

The steering assembly is attached to many different parts of your vehicle, including your transmission, axle, tyres and engine. Therefore, steering complications may be caused by an issue in any of the above components.

In addition to the steering wheel "turning by itself", you may also notice that your vehicle shakes (vibrates) whenever you turn it on. Such vibration ranges from a gentle shake to intense back and forth motions. If you notice these issues in your vehicle, getting them fixed should be a top priority. Steering complications are a safety hazard while driving. Here are some potential causes of the problem.

1. Misaligned wheels and unbalanced tyres

Your wheels and tyres will directly impact the performance of your steering assembly. This is because the steering unit connects to the axle, which then attaches to your front (and sometimes rear) wheels. The most common cause of steering complications is uneven tyres or wear and tear on the tyre surface. Unbalanced tyres also cause the vehicle to become misaligned and harder to steer.

Misaligned wheels cause most tyre issues. Misaligned wheels typically occur due to prior accidents with the vehicle, hitting a kerb or wear and tear over the years.     

2. A damaged axle

Your axle also determines how smooth and responsive your steering unit is. If your axle is damaged, you may experience frequent vibrations and a harder time turning your vehicle while driving. Have your axle inspected for loose joints, misplaced bearings or physical deformities (especially after an accident).

3. Low (or leaking) engine oil

An engine complication may also cause steering issues. Low or leaking engine oil is the most common cause of a vibrating engine, which may, in turn, affect your steering function.

Turn on your engine and observe if it's shaking. Next, check your oil levels. Because low engine oil could potentially cause engine knock and a cracked chassis, visit your mechanic to top up the oil supply as soon as possible.

4. Braking issues

Warped braking rotors may also cause steering complications. If the rotors are misaligned and they can't tightly grip your brake discs, the steering wheel may act erratically anytime you step on the brakes.