Do Any Cars Still Have Steering Wheel Resistance?

Do any recent years cars have any resistance in the steering wheel? I was test driving a 2016 Toyota car and there was little resistance in the steering wheel when turning it. In my current, old car, there is sufficient resistance to require conscious thought to turn the car and how much to turn it. It takes about 1/2-3/4 turn of the wheel for the car’s direction to change. In the car I test drove the required turning of the steering wheel was much less. I didn’t feel that I had good control of the car to modulate its direction change (e.g. lane change, passing on parkway, passing double parked cars). I tried two other recent cars (different models) and they had even less resistance.
My mechanic told me that’s how the cars are made now - and that can’t be adjusted. But that I’ll eventually get used to it.

I’d appreciate comments that anyone has about this - your thoughts, feelings etc. Did others have this concern and did get used to it? Am I the only driver who isn’t comfortable with this type of steering?

What is your current car?

If you had driven some of the 1960 to 1970 American land barges you could turn the wheel with one finger . I really have no idea what you are describing because I don’t notice any problem like that.


If this is your current vehicle ( what ever this mystery vehicle is ) it sounds like it has some serious steering problem . A vehicle should not delay direction change like a boat.

When my uncle demonstrated his new '58 Desoto for us, he showed how he could steer the car with a fabric thread at 60 mph. Only later did I realize that he was jeopardizing everyone’s life with that type of behavior.

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Honda/Acura still has higher resistance to steering at low speeds.

Actually if you have a delay in your steering response, I suspect something is worn, like inner or outer tie rods. Yeah I missed the old no effort power steering then our RDX with electric steering is closer to what it was like in the 60’s. My Pontiac still requires more effort.

My Mustang has adjustable resistance. But I suspect you are using the word resistance incorrectly. Resistance is force. Your description of 1/2 a turn before direction change refers to precision. Or, in my mind, slop. I want the car to turn if I move the wheel 1 degree. How much it turns with that 1 degree relates to steering ratio. 3.5 turns lock to lock is pretty standard these days. In the 60s, 5 turns would not have been uncommon because many cars did not have power steering. Today, we do.


You will eventually get used to it. I like to drive with my hand in my lap and two fingers on the bottom of the wheel, so the less resistance the better.

I may indeed be using the incorrect word “resistance”. Perhaps the proper word is “effort”. I need more “effort” to turn the wheel enough to effect a right/left response. I therefore feel I have more control of the car, as I can modulate the “effort” needed to turn the wheel, and hence modulate the car’s right/left movement. But with the 2016 Toyota I test drove I feel less secure.

I don’t believe there is anything wrong with my current (2000 Camry) car’s steering. I had a '91 Camry before this one and it too required a similar amount of effort steer it.

Thanks for the information about the Honda/Acura. I can try to find one (I’m looking at used cars) though overall I prefer to stay with Toyota.


I had a Dodge Aspen years ago (I don’t recall which year model). It had the low-resistance/low effort steering wheel. I was very happy when after that I got my first Camry and it did NOT have that kind of steering.

Your saying I will get used to it is encouraging.

Have you tried a Camry SE or XSE? They have a bit better suspension and handling than the regular Camry.

I think Chip might be served by taking a driving course . People have different vehicles in their households and drive one for a while and even drive all of them and don’t seem to have problems .

Comparing my early 70’s Ford truck w/power steering, late 70’s VW Rabbit w/manual steering, and my current early 90’s Corolla w/power steering, I prefer the Corolla’s road feel the best. The truck’s is too easy to turn, and the Rabbit’s was ok at speed, but awkward when going slow, parking lots, esp parallel parking. OP could try a Corolla, see if that gives them the road feel they are after. I drove a 2019 Corolla for a week last summer, and I didn’t like the steering feel quite as much. I think part of the “feel” change is the weight & weight distribution is quite a bit different comparing a 2019 Corolla/CVT vs an early 90’s/manual trans.

What you are seeking is something we call “road feel”. I used to prefer it, but now that I’m elderly, I look for low effort in everything.

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Î don’t think you have to eliminate feel for low effort. The steering on my 04 xb had a low effort steering wheel. But when pushed on a freeway on ramp, the steering gets progressively heavier. Even when cruising on the freeway, it felt slightly heavier than around town. Though it wasn’t as pronounced as the Honda Fit or a Miata, it had a much better steering feel than most Toyota I’ve driven, except for the Celica.

To get good steering feel in a 2016 Toyota, perhaps one should look for that in the gt86

“I don’t believe there is anything wrong with my current (2000 Camry) car’s steering. I had a '91 Camry before this one and it too required a similar amount of effort steer it.”

You’re talking about a 20-year-old car now, and even if this was 10 years ago, your '91 Camry was almost 20 years old then…it’s possible that the steering components in both vehicles were worn down.

Delayed response and/or greater steering resistance is a huge safety issue. Think about yourself in an emergency situation…you’ve got enough to worry about without having to calculate how much steering effort you need…you need the steering to ‘just work’ and you need it immediately.

In a scenario where you need to make an emergency correction and you’re steering isn’t immediately responsible, odds are you [or most people] are going to give the wheel an even harder jerk, and risk over-correcting as a result.

Low steering resistance = much safer driving experience.

Those who are as old as I am may recall that Chrysler’s power steering in the '50s and early '60s had essentially zero resistance, and of course it also had zero “road feel”.

I can still recall my uncle’s demonstration of the PS on his new '58 DeSoto. We were driving on the NJ Turnpike–obviously at high speed–when he tied a piece of cotton thread to the steering wheel, and proceeded to steer the car with that flimsy thread. At the time, I didn’t realize just how dangerous his stunt actually was.

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I strongly disagree with that sentence! And it contradicts your comment;

Peoples’ reactions to an emergency is abrupt and relatively uncontrolled. It takes time to get a car to turn. If the effort to turn the wheel is a bit higher, it slows down the driver’s response to more closely match the car’s actual response, so the next motion of the wheel can better be controlled by the driver… Plus the stability control on newer cars will step in and prevent over-correction and spins.

How do you hold the wheel? One hand on the very top of the steering wheel?? (if you do that, stop it, in an accident your forearm will break and you will punch yourself in the nose) On the very bottom? Or at 10 and 2 or 3 and 9?

Keep in mind, many cars now have electrical assisted steering that can be adjusted for effort. I set my Mustang to the low effort setting for around town, higher for highway. It s great feature you should look for in a car given this issue.

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One month in a new car and the OP would be used to the steering. Not that different from 2000 to now. I had thought the OP might have been driving something much more unusual.

Keep in mind that Toyota uses variable resistance power steering in many vehicles. In my 2016, you could almost turn the wheel by pushing on it with a feather when the car isn’t moving. It stiffens up as you increase speed so you still get some (but sadly not much - it’s not a sport sedan) road feel.