Can Play in Power Steering Wheel Be Reduced

I’m considering a car that has more play in the steering wheel than what I am used to. Is that “built in” to the car or is there an adjustment a mechanic can make to reduce the play?

Car make?
Car model?
Car model-year?

That information is needed to begin a discussion. Also, by finding out what in the steering system is causing the play will determine whether or not it can be reduced or eliminated.

As with any used car, particularly one with something going on that draws your attention, it needs to be carefully inspected by a knowledgeable mechanic/technician.
:palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:

Not sure why you would think a vehicle would be built with ’ play ’ in the steering . I always say if you are looking at a used vehicle and you have questions about it look some more. There are thousands of used vehicles on the market.

Some cars like my 2012 Corolla has very light steering fell(more assistance) that some drivers might like or don’t like…A Honda civic on the other hand has a heavier feel(less assistance) more direct response.

Every GM vehicle that I’ve ever owned had adjustable play in the steering box. It can be adjusted easily but there is a technique involved. I won’t address the technique here because the adjustment can damage the steering box if not done properly.

Well, I am going to “improve” your statement by altering it a bit:
Not sure why you would think a modern vehicle would be built with ’ play ’ in the steering

“Play” in the steering was pretty-much a given, up until the '80s or so. Since then, “play” in the steering wheel has been unusual, and can be an indication of excessive wear in components such as tie rod ends.


Without more information I strongly suspect there’s excessive wear in one or more front end parts. It may even be why the car is for sale. If you’re getting a great deal it might offset the cost of repairs but your best bet is to arrange an inspection by a qualified mechanic. If the seller balks at this, move on.

Some vehicles wander more than others. Vehicles with aggressive tires and/or recirculating ball steering systems are more prone to wander than ones with highway tires and/or rack & pinion steering. Wandering can be interpreted as “play”.

So, what do you drive now and what is this potential new vehicle?

I have a 77 grand Prix, and it has a little play in the steering. I took it to a reputible shop, they checked the front end, and said they found nothing loose, but wouldn’t attempt to adjust steering box due to possible lockup. I have another mechanic who will do the adjustment, so what do I tell him to do? I had a Ford Courier pick that had play in steering and it was tightened up with just a 1/2 turn.

If your person is actually a mechanic, he will know what to do. You should not need to tell him.

I’ve adjusted GM steering boxes and never went as far as 1/2 turn.