Steering Wheel Hard To Turn Right But Not Left – A Full Explanation

Just like the steering wheel off center but drives straight, the steering wheel hard to turn right but not left also sounds frustrating and scary. Yes, it’s true.

That’s why you should know the reasons to determine what happens to your vehicle and have a proper solution.

This article will reveal the most common causes for your issue and signs of a malfunctioning driving system. Besides, there will be tips to maintain and make the system last longer.

Hesitate no more but scroll down for more useful information.

Why Is The Steering Wheel Hard To Turn Right But Not Left?

steering wheel hard to turn right but not left
My Steering Wheel Hard To Turn Right But Not Left

The steering wheel hard to turn right but not left can be caused by bad quality or low-level fluid, some worn-out or damaged components in the gearbox.

Besides, overload or tire pressure issues also lead to unsmoothly turning. 

Having a proper diagnosis to troubleshoot the problem is advisable.

Problem Related To The Gearbox (Transmission)

Bad Or Low-level Steering Fluid

When you have a stiff steering wheel when turning, the first reason you can think of is the steering fluid issues.

A common problem with this liquid is that it gets thicker over time. Too thick fluid can’t lubricate the system, causing the driving system to be tight and difficult to rotate.

Driving with this thick liquid, you need to use much more force before coming to the turning corner. It’s super unsafe when you need to make an instant steer.

Check your fluid; if it is dark and thick, change it immediately. You just need to drain and replace it with the new, fresh one to solve the problem.

The second possibility is your fluid level is low. It indicates leakage from the pressurized hose area due to a cracked or loose hose.

In this case, it’s impossible to turn freely like you usually do, as there’s insufficient fluid. You can still drive your vehicle for some distance until you cannot maneuver the driving system.

Some drivers tend to temporarily fix the issue by refilling the liquid. It helps for a while, but the root of the problem is not troubleshot.

You still need to take care of the leakage. Fix it by replacing the hose to avoid costly damages and dangerous situations.

Wear Out Serpentine Belt

Your wheel is hard to turn possibly because of a cracked or broken serpentine belt.

It’s one of the most important components in your engine, which is in charge of many jobs, such as operating the power steering pump.

The part gets degraded quite fast since it’s been used continuously for a long time.

Once it frays, cracks, or becomes loose, you’ll feel the signs of stiffness while rotating, such as a halt or struggle to move.

The serpentine belt also affects the work of other components, like the alternator, water pump, and AC compressor. Plus, a broken belt can damage the pulley, leading to cars overheating.

Thus, when you find out there’s something wrong with the component, get it fixed immediately.

Damaged Power Steering Pump

The power steering pump, part and parcel of the power steering system, is in charge of transferring the fluid to the rack and pinion unit.

It generates an appropriate amount of pressure to move the hand wheel smoothly.

When the pump is malfunctioning, the wheel is hard to turn, especially when your car runs at low speed. You will still be able to adjust the driving wheel with a lot of effort.

The heavier your vehicle is, the more you struggle to navigate it in your desired direction.

As the faulty pump doesn’t let you direct your car smoothly, you need to exert a lot of force, which is not ideal when you need to turn urgently.

The pump may last thousands of miles but also break down prematurely. Make sure you check its condition regularly and also inspect its connectors to ensure no wiggle or damage.

Faulty Rack And Pinion

Another culprit making your car hard to turn is the rack and pinion failure.

Rack and pinion, also known as steering rack, rotate and move the wheels by converting the rotary motion when you turn the hand wheel into linear motion.

The components can be damaged due to exposure to temperature and debris or faulty brushing inside.

When you see bad steering rack symptoms, it indicates difficulty or impossibility in driving your car in the direction you want.

You’d better not linger but deal with the issue to avoid an escalating problem.

Mechanism Valve Failure

The valve in the steering gear mechanism supplies hydraulic pressure to control the fluid and flow within the driving system. When you turn, the valve opens and vice versa.

A faulty valve means the fluid is pressurized, and the steering wheel is hard to turn.

It can be worse when the pressure is too high, leading to fluid leakage. You should diagnose and address the problem as soon as possible.

Other Issues 

If you have a steering wheel that is hard to turn left but not right, consider other reasons unrelated to the gearbox.

Car Overload

You may feel out of control when turning if you load too much weight at the back. Overloading can lead to unbalance in the front-end steering and delay in rotating.

So make sure you don’t cause discomfort for yourself when driving by putting too much stuff in your car.

Tire Pressure Problems

It’s hard to turn my steering wheel; why? When you face this problem, consider checking your tire pressure, as it can be a root cause.

Proper tire pressure is important to reduce the risk of accidents and ensure safe operation.

Underinflated or overinflated tires make your hand wheel drag, your vehicle difficult to handle and can cause you in danger.

You will also have trouble turning when the tire pressure is unequal. It’s important to check the tires and adjust the pressure if needed to ensure safe driving.

Front-end Misalignment

When your steering wheel is hard to turn, improper front-end alignment can be to blame for. It means your front wheels don’t point in the same direction as the whole body of the vehicle.

So, the car will pull to one side, hindering the vehicle from moving forward or turning.

The misalignment is the source of premature tire wear as well. Since the front-end alignment is off, the tires wear off unevenly and require replacement.

Luckily, qualified mechanics can do the alignment procedure without costing too much.

Broken Damper

Steering damper or hydraulic shock absorber is designed to minimize the amount of vibration for divers while sitting behind and taking control of the hand wheel.

This part is not necessary for all cars, but it’s a useful extra help when driving on rough roads.

If your damper malfunctions, you’ll feel your control heavier and the car hard to steer.

How Do You Know If Your Steering Wheel Is Bad?

stiff steering wheel when turning
Signs When Your Steering Wheel Is Bad

Be more attentive to those signs below, as they can be an early warning that your driving system is going bad and may need inspection and fixation.

Sound While Turning

When whining noises coming from your car while turning, it indicates a faulty controlling system. To be specific, it’s the issue with the power steering rack.

You’d better bring your vehicle to an auto repair shop to have an inspection immediately.

Vibration While Turning

There are several reasons for car vibration while operating, but if it happens when you make a turn, your driving system is likely the culprit.

In this case, you may have low-pressure fluid, so check it carefully.

Brake Fluid Leakage

Look under your vehicle; maybe you’ll find a puddle of oil, meaning you have brake fluid leakage. It can be the reason why it’s hard to turn your steering wheel, and you need to apply more force than usual.

Burning Oil Smell

The burning oil smell is a serious sign that you should notice. It can be due to the leakage of the fluid.

This liquid can come into some parts of your vehicle; if it enters the gearbox, you may feel it smell like burning oil.

This symptom can also be a hint for fire to start. So, don’t ignore but pay extra attention to your and your vehicle’s safety.

Car Tends To Go To One Side When Moving

As mentioned above, wheel misalignment causes your vehicle to go to one side; thus, the car is hard to turn. Once you identify this problem, get it addressed promptly.

What Are The Tips To Maintain The Condition Of The Controlling System? 

it's hard to turn my steering wheel
Tips To Maintain The Condition Of The Controlling System

Maintaining the good condition of the controlling system helps you a lot to avoid dangerous situations caused by steering hard to turn.

Let’s see what you can do to ensure this important component functions properly.

Inspect The Hoses Regularly

The fluid can flow through a cracked or broken hose and cause leakage, making your hand wheel tougher. That’s why you need to check the hoses regularly to ensure there’s no crack or wear.

Ensure The Quality And Level Of Fluid

As we discussed above, if the fluid level is lower than required or its quality is too bad, it will make the wheel hard to turn.

You should have a professional service to help you check if your fluid is clean and at the correct level.

Pay Attention To Abnormal Symptoms

To some people, it’s maybe difficult, yet not impossible, to be watchful for any sign of failure.

Whenever you notice abnormal symptoms while turning, such as strange noises, burning smells, stiff rotating, etc., take it seriously and seek help from professionals to eliminate any current issue.

The Bottom Lines

Driving with a steering wheel hard to turn right but not left definitely is not a good idea. Stiffness or improper turning can put you in unwanted situations.

It doesn’t matter what causes the problem; you should address it as soon as you realize there’s a driving system failure.

Notice some of the signs of damage mentioned above to take early action to protect yourself and your vehicle.

Performing regular checks is highly recommended to ensure your system works in good condition.

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