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Steering malfunction

I drive a 2001 Dodge Gran Caravan. It has about 84000 miles on it.

Recently I found the steering, when turning a corner ceases to work when the steering wheel is at 2 o’clock for a right turn, and at the 10 o’clock position for a left turn. This only happened 2 times in two day period. The sensation that I can liken the loss of steering to is when you turn a corner when there is a lot of snow on the ground, and the car keep going straight. This has happened to me one time. And then to my husband the second time. There is no noise of any thing peculiar leading up to the malfunction. But, upon your panic, and slowing down because you no longer have control of where you are turning… a loud “pop” happens, and then the steering is regained.

I almost hit a car on the side street that I was turning into when this happened to me. I brought the van to the dealer (BTW this last December the dealer worked on the steering column and replaced the ignition key switch) they said they did not see anything wrong with it, and to let them know next time it happened! Well after it happened two times in two days, I don’t feel safe driving that thing around waiting for it to do it again!

Does anybody have any ideas what this could be? I have left it at another mechanics place, but they have yet to have a chance to take a gander.

If you really can’t steer, I wouldn’t drive it. There may be a connection between the steering column work last December, but I can’t say for sure.

I’m assuming the power steering pump is full and the belt is correctly tensioned.

One question. When the steering resumed, is the steering wheel still straight when driving straight, or is it rotated, like stuck turning left or right?

I will ask the new mechanic about this. I don’t know very much about cars. I do know that with a van full of little children and car seats, I don’t feel safe driving the thing. Thanks for your input!

: )

when I am finally able to turn and this loud “pop” like a single popcorn kernel sounds, then the steering acts normal. It rolls back in your hands like a normal functioning steering wheel after the turn has been completed.

In digging deeper into this site, I found that someone from Seattle had a problem about a year ago on the show. It sounded almost the same. The little overview on the site mentioned rack and piston or some other something or other… I need to download the archived show to find out the what the outcome of this was.

To answer your question-I would say no, it does not seem to stick turning after the turn is completed. It functions as though there is nothing wrong as soon as you start to panic, strong arm it, experience the “pop” and then everything is normal.

I appreciate you taking the time to answer. I really need this van back and working properly. Thanks!

Did you resolve your problem? I am having the same problem with my 2003 Dodge Caravan. It started last year and the dealer couldn’t find anything wrong. It only did it during cold weather and only first turn of the morning. Didn’t happen often but it was scary. Eventually found a mechanic who replaced a screen (I think it was in the rack and pinion) that was clogged. The weather warmed up and it didn’t do it anymore. Well, the weather cooled down last week and it is doing it again. Have appointment to take it to the dealer today. My car had about 90,000 when it started doing it. Now at 112,000. I would really like to have an idea of what it is and the cost of repair before I take the car in.

Dealer says it is the steering gear. I left the car overnight so they could drive it first thing on a cool morning and it did lock up. The cost to repair is $700. Keeping my fingers crossed that these people know what they are talking about.

Did you resolve your problem? I am curious because I had the same problem and was told it was the steering gear. Paid $700 for repair a week ago and hasn’t done it again. Posted earlier but still want to know if you found your problem.

Sorry for delay in responding. Thanks for your ideas. I hope your van is working well now. We did have the problem resolved. I took the car back down to the dealer after calling the headquaters in MI. They called the dealer and pressed them to figure it out. The long and short of it was they did not believe me that what I described could actually happen. My husband came in and told the manager what had happened to him when he was driving and then they finally took me seriously!

They took about the steering column and found that there was a broken multifunction switch. Part of the thing fell down between the something or other down in the steering column and was binding up the steering until it would “pop” free and resume on its merry little way!

Sure is wicked dangerous!, so thank goodness they were able to find this dumb little broken piece of plastic.

Hope you have a blessed Christmas season.

: )