You are dependent on your truck steering wheel to cover the distance from one place to another. Due to some malfunctions, the steering can become loose and the driver can not control the truck.
Why is My Truck Steering So Loose? The truck’s steering can become loose due to excessive wear and tear in its components. The wearing in the ball joints, tie rods, pitman arm, the control arm can significantly affect the functionality of the steering wheel. The replacement of the steering component can help the driver solve all these issues and increase the truck’s safety.
- 1 Why is My Truck Steering So Loose?
- 1.1 Rack and pinion system of the truck
- 1.2 Worm and sector system of the truck
- 1.3 The damaged tie rods
- 1.4 Damage in the pitman arm of the vehicle
- 1.5 Malfunctioning of the idler arm
- 1.6 Ball joints present in the truck steering system
- 1.7 Faulty control arm
- 1.8 Why is it essential to tight the steering of the truck?
Why is My Truck Steering So Loose?
Different steering components connect to make their function accurate that helps the driver to move his pickup smoothly.
In this process, the rotary motion of the steering wheel moves towards its different components. These components then convert the rotary motion into linear motion that smoothly helps the driver run the vehicle on the road.
Rack and pinion system of the truck
Most of the trucks contain rack and pinion steering systems. The angular motion of the steering wheel moves through the steering column or shaft towards the pinion and then towards the rack.
When the pinion rotates, its teeth connect with the rack of the steering system that converts the angular motion into linear motion.
The ends of the rack contain tie rods that connect with the steering arm of the tire assembly. Due to the rack’s linear motion, the tie rods move the wheels in different directions as per the driver’s instruction.
Worm and sector system of the truck
The heavy-duty truck has another system known as the recirculating ball steering or worn and sector system.
This system contains a shaft that moves with its rotation. This shaft has a worm gear present on its lower end inside the metal block.
The block has gear teeth that connect with the sector gear. The sector gear then attaches with the vehicle’s pitman arm.
When you turn the steering, the worm gear of the shaft rotates that moves the metal block in an upward and downward direction.
The teeth of the metal block move the sector gear that then turns the pitman’s arm of the pickup. The pitman arm then rotates the tie rod assembly to moves the tires in different directions.
The metal block contains little recirculating balls in them that helps to prevent sloppiness in the system and reduce friction in the whole assembly.
The damaged tie rods
Most of the trucks contain tie rods at the end of their steering component. According to the driver’s instruction, these tie rods pull and push the pickup tires.
Due to their continuous work, they face a lot of wear and tear in its assembly. These tie rods are in constant use because of the rotation of the steering.
Another beneficial function of tie rods is to absorb all the vibrations that occur due to road bumps or the friction of tires with the road.
The wheel’s movement puts a lot of stress on them; thus, the end of the tie rod becomes worn out with time.
You can fix this issue by lifting it with the help of a jack and slightly moving the front wheel from side to side. While inspecting the front tires, check for any clunking or growling sound in them.
Also, check the boot covering attach to the ends of the tie rod; the cracked boot covering can let water enter into the assembly and increase the risk of its damage.
You need to remove the old tie rod from its place and add the new one. The inner tie rod must connect with the steering linkages. The outer end must connect with the tire’s assembly with the help of a bolt.
Good quality tie rods have grease fitting in them that prolong their life expectancy. You can easily change them because they are economical and range between $50 to $190.
Damage in the pitman arm of the vehicle
The pitman’s arm is the critical link between the steering and your tires. It directly connects with its shaft of the pickup and converts the angular movement of it into linear motion.
The pitman arm then transfers the linear motion towards the tie rod assembly of the pickup and helps to maintain the direction of wheels. The pitman’s arm faces a lot of stress for completing its task efficiently. You should know methods to remove the pitman arm on Ford F150.
Malfunctioning of the idler arm
The pitman’s arms connect with the idler arm of recirculating ball steering with the help of a ball and socket joint.
It is essential to inspect the working of the pitman’s arm and idler’s arm when the steering show excessive free play and the tires do not respond with it.
Due to the damage of the pitman arm assembly, you need to rotate it more than usual to get an accurate response from your pickup.
Another sign of a pitman’s arm malfunctioning is the wandering of the pickup in the left and right direction when you drive it on the road.
After inspecting all the signs, it is essential to take your vehicle to the repairing shop as early as possible.
You can also identify it by wiggling your front wheels from the left to the right direction with the help of your hands and see the movement of the pitman arm and idler arm. You can also inspect the damages in them by the excessive wearing signs of your front tires.
Ball joints present in the truck steering system
The ball joint is the vital component of your steering assembly that allows the front tires to move in different directions.
It can also help the vehicle to move upward and downward while driving on bumpy roads swiftly.
The wearing of these joints can significantly affect your safety and make your ride uncomfortable.
The damaged ball joints produce an unbearable audible sound when you move its wheel.
Another reason for the squeaking sound production is the crack formation on the boot covering of ball joints.
The damaged boot can allow sand to inoculate inside it and seize the whole joint. As a result, the entire joint does not move efficiently.
These signs make it challenging to control your truck movement on the road and make your driving experience more stressful.
The ball joints are inexpensive to repair the average cost of improving ball joints ranges from $25 to $90 depending on the model of your truck.
Faulty control arm
The control arm plays a vital role in suspension and the steering system of the vehicle, also known as the A-arm.
It is a part of the suspension combined with the front wheel hub and steering knuckles, connecting with the vehicle’s chassis.
They have different ball joints and bushing that help them move according to the driver’s steering instructions and the road condition.
The control arm’s ball joints and bushing damage make the steering become loose with time. The first sign you see in your vehicle due to control arm damage is the wheel’s excessive vibration.
The vibration most commonly occurs when you increase the speed of your truck after driving it to a specific limit.
The clunking noises and the vehicle wandering also indicate some issues with the working of the control arm.
You can solve this issue by consulting with a qualified technician and treat the problem as quickly as possible because it can compromise the safety of the driver and the truck.
Why is it essential to tight the steering of the truck?
It is essential to tighten your truck’s steering wheel if it becomes loose because it can cause different handling issues that can lead to severe accidents.
You cannot turn your vehicle in different directions according to your desire. Movements of trucks in the left and right direction can increase the risk of accidents by compromising the driver’s safety and the vehicle.
Due to this problem, the driver looses all his control on the truck that can significantly impact your driving skills and make your driving time worse.