My brother died 35 days ago.
He and his wife were going on a morning ride when they fell off from a bridge.
She survived and after getting conscious, the only thing she could remember was that the steering wheel locked up while driving!
Around 591 people search for the solution to this problem every month around the world.
So, this isn’t a rare occurrence, and many suffer from this every year. Moreover, this happens without any warning.
However, why this happens and how to fix it isn’t that much available on the internet.
Therefore, here you’ll get to know the reason behind this and probable solutions.
Now let’s jump into the details-
Table of Contents
Why Steering wheel locks up while driving?
Because of many reasons, a power steering locks up while driving. No matter how simple the reasons may be, it’s unwise to ignore those.
The Lock Assembly
You might say that “My steering wheel locked up while driving!”
But there’s another question, did it lock up without any prior notice? Are you sure that there wasn’t any creaking noise while driving?
If the answer is yes, then you most probably have a lock assembly problem. Another way to make sure is that your car will become normal once you restart it.
Problems with this part make a car to stop without any notice.
Solution: Change the lock assembly.
A fault in this won’t actually lock up your steering wheel. But it will make it like an 1800’s car.
However, in some cases, you’ll find your steering wheel at a standstill.
This happens because of wearing and contamination.
Some parts inside the column might get worn-out with time.
On the other hand, some delicate parts may get contaminated with dirt and other debris.
Solution: Take it to a mechanic and see if cleaning would do. If not, then change the parts needed. To be extra safe, change the steering column.
Electric Power Steering Failure
The EPS motor malfunction sometimes makes locks up the steering wheel. Damage in the wiring or a sensor malfunction would cause this problem.
However, the norm is that power steering failure would cause the steering to be heavy but not locked.
There might be a possibility that your hands were not strong enough to move the heavy steering caused by an EPS malfunction.
Solution: Troubleshoot to avoid severe damages in the future. To be more specific, do an engine stalling diagnostic.
Engine Control Unit Problem
The engine control unit or ECU controls the basic activities of the car. If there’s a problem here, then you might face a locked steering wheel while driving.
Here’s how it happens-
- ECU gets a sensory problem
- It activates the steering lock mechanism
- You get locked steering when driving
In some cases, the ECU stops sending power to the Electronic Power Steering system. As a result, your car steering doesn’t work.
Besides this, you’ll get a lot of other symptoms if the ECU malfunctions. To be honest this is the heart of the car.
Solution: If the ECU malfunctions, then you shouldn’t try to drive it. Call up a mechanic or towing service. Check for short circuits and other damages. If you have a code reader, then you can determine this easily.
Your car’s transmission system gets affected if you take sharp turns quite often. Taking sharp turns will-
- Hurt your engine
- Make your steering pump or motor stuck
So, take your turns slowly
Solutions: If the transmission system gets damaged then look for other symptoms. Change the parts you need to change.
Power Steering Pump Problem
Although nowadays it’s pretty uncommon to find a power steering pump in a car, if you have one then this one’s for you.
The pump might face a problem if-
- Car power steering fluid gets leaked
- The belt that runs the pump tears or comes off
‘Steering wheel locked up while driving battery light’ -is a common query among people.
This means that the steering wheel locked up and battery light turned on.
This also happens because of the faulty belt. If the belt breaks or tears or if there is a belt tensioner, then the alternator fails to supply electrical power. As a result, the battery light turns on.
Solution: Change the belt or pump fluid or if necessary the pump.
Sometimes the reasons for locked up steering while parked and while driving might match. So, something related to your front suspension and wheel bearing might also cause locked up steering wheel when driving.
How to Prevent Locked up Steering Wheel?
Prevention is always better than cure.
Although some of the reasons may not have any prevention still you could delay those.
However, these are some of the prevention tips that might help you out-
- Do a regular checkup
- Don’t hesitate to change the part
- Lube the parts that need lubing
- Don’t drift along the road [Your car isn’t customized for taking those sharp turns. So, don’t imagine yourself as a movie hero and take slow turns]
Follow these tips and you’ll be good.
It’s pretty scary!
Slight disfavor of luck and you’ll come up snake eyes. So, if you suspect any sort of inconsistency in your car’s performance then solve it out.
Or else, through facing grave consequences, you’ll understand that ignorance is not bliss.