I have a 2004 subaru outback w/almost 80K; recently noticed alot of play in the steering wheel; has anyone had this issue and what does it mean; any resolutions to the problem? Thanks
Are you leaking fluid? Most likely, if there is a lot of play. Somewhere to start.
There’s a number of reasons as to why the steering wheel could be sloppy.
Worn steering shaft bushings.
Worn steering shaft coupler.
Worn outer tie rod end. (one each side)
Worn inner tie rod. (one each side)
Worn or out of adjustment pinion gear in the steering rack.
Worn wheel bearing. (either side)
Worn ball joint or control arm bushing.
A wild stab in the dark would likely point to a loose wheel bearing or inner tie rod as being the most likely; with weight given to the inner tie rod.
This needs to be checked as something like this can be potentially dangerous depending on the cause.
There is no fluid leaking that I have noticed.