If your car feels a little too loose in the steering, you may be tempted to take it in for an alignment. But is that really the solution? In this post, we’ll take a look at what might be causing your loose steering, and whether or not an alignment will fix it. We’ll also give you some tips on how to troubleshoot the issue yourself. So read on to find out more!
Will an Alignment Fix Loose Steering?
Yes, but it’s not just about the alignment.
Some vehicle component manufacturers recommend that even properly aligned chassis be serviced or replaced. This is because there is a gap between the tire and braking surface of the road. Variations in gap size can affect steering precision and stability. If your gap becomes too wide, steering precision will degrade and handling performance decrease as you go over bumps.
At best, tires will wear unevenly; at worst one or both tires/wheels could become disengaged from the hub assembly and require full replacement. Without proper friction on all four corners of your car it doesn’t matter how well aligned your front end is- stopping distances will increase as control deteriorates during braking.
Things You Can Do About Loose Steering
- Check your tire pressure – low pressure can cause steering to feel loose
- Make sure your tires are aligned properly and that the wheels are not out of balance
- Check for any damage to the suspension or steering system, like a broken shock absorber
- Get an alignment if you notice excessive wear on one side of the tire tread pattern
- Change your oil regularly; dirty oil will make it difficult for the front-end components to work together smoothly
- Replace worn parts as soon as possible, before they break down completely and need expensive repairs
What Causes Steering to Feel Loose?
A steering damper is an active hydraulic device that seeks to cancel out the motion of the vehicle’s front tires. It does this by changing (dampering) or interrupting (snubbing) one of the forces that creates “loose feel”: understeer.
Steering is considered loose if there are issues with understeer, oversteer, steering response time, and corner exit stability. For example, for a lot of older cars it’s not uncommon for just running up to top speed on a freeway ramp to cause them to feel loose because tires aren’t turning fast enough turn steer 45 degrees at freeway speeds. All these issues can be fixed though with suspension work and tire upgrades.
Related Guide: How Long Do Struts Normally Last?
How Much Does it Cost to Fix Loose Steering?
It can cost anywhere from $5 on the cheapest side ($15 diagnostics on the more expensive side) to upwards of $1000. Check with your car dealership or car repair shop for exact pricing.
What do I do when my steering wheel starts shaking?
If you’re experiencing sudden jerking while driving, this may be caused by loose steering which is an indication that your ball joints are about to fail and this causes poor handling, shakes or shimmies in steering, leading to a dangerous experience for drivers. A cheaper fix would be replacing worn suspension bushings/links which will help get rid of these harmful effects but only get progressively worse if not fixed beforehand.
Loose steering is a common problem with many vehicles. Have you tried any of these fixes? – Tires and wheels should be aligned on the vehicle as well as possible, to ensure that they’re not worn unevenly or out of balance which can cause loose steering. If this doesn’t seem like an issue for your car, then it’s likely something else such as faulty suspension or weak shocks are causing the looseness in your steering wheel.
These issues will typically require more extensive repair work than just replacing tires and alignment adjustments so make sure to consult a professional before making major repairs.