Stiff Steering

Just bought a 2001 used Oldsmobile Aurora. I noticed that the steering gets stiff at times when I am about to turn in a curve. The problem is getting worse everyday. What do you think is the problem?

Low fluid
Worn steering pump or worn rack and pinion.

General Motors steering syndrome. Sometimes you have to replace things. Let’s hope not. Sometimes it’s the rack. For anybody reading this post, an Aurora is usually considered to be a bad choice. It’s not Oldsmobile’s worst model but why split hairs.

Have you checked the tire pressure?

My best guess is a bad steering rack and pinion gear. This was a known problem on earlier GM models, but perhaps this problem has persisted.

You should be aware that this situation is a genuine safety issue, as at some point, it will suddenly bind up so severely while in a turn that you will be unable to steer the car.

Get this diagnosed a.s.a.p. Also start praying that I am wrong and start looking for a source of lots of $$ in case I am correct. This is not a cheap repair, IIRC.

I hope that I am wrong about the rack and pinion, but this needs to be checked out immediately before you kill yourself and other people.

Thanks to all of you for your input. I really do appreciate it. I’ll take it the garage ASAP. But there is one thing though. In resonpse to the last question; if I did check my tire pressure? I notice on the screen, where it alerts you of what needs to be check on the car, it says; “Low tire pressure”. Could this be the problem?

Certainly. And I must say we are astonished. The car itself has told you it has a problem, simple to correct, and yet you took no action. Even if raising the tire pressure does not cure the steering difficulty you must do so anyway.

Today’s cars can do many wonderous things, alerting you to mechanical problems before they become serious. But they cannot fix themselves. That is your job.

I guess you are right. I played the fool. Since I bought this car, the alert has always been on the screen. But I have not done anything. I must act now, 'cause this is scaring.

Once again, I’ll like to thank all of you for your comments/inputs. I’ll check the tire pressure and even do dianostic test to find out if there may be other problems.


Well now, I didn’t think the Aurora had tire air pressure sensors even as an option.

If the tire pressure is low I’m of the opinion that you may only have one thing to worry about and that is the tire sidewall.
If the tire pressure is pretty low (20 or so) it’s possible that depending on how many miles you’ve traveled like this that the sidewall could be rubbing out of the tire. This is dangerous and can cause a blowout. With a bad sidewall no one will repair this tire(s) and any tires that have suffered this should be scrapped.

Low tire pressure will also cause tires to run much hotter and can lead to disentegration of the tire.

according to this: they do.

Once again, I agree with OK4450.

For the OP to ignore a warning of low tire pressure is…disturbing… since regularly checking tire pressure is perhaps the most basic part of car maintenance, aside from regular checking of the oil and other fluids. And then, to have a graphic warning (literally) that the tire pressure is low and to continue to drive is really irresponsible.

Is the OP one of those people who will post back here in a few months, saying something like:
“I didn’t know that I was out of oil until the oil pressure light came on, and then I drove another 15 miles until I got home and checked the dip stick. Is my engine damaged?”

While I think that a check of the rack & pinion is still necessary, the OP should be aware that continuing to drive on tires with low pressure could have led to internal damage to the cords in the sidewalls of those tires, making them structurally unsound. And, since that type of damage is not visible from the outside, the only way that the OP will find out about that damage is when one of them blows out at high speed.

(In case the OP is not aware of it, a high speed blowout in the hands of someone who does not know how to control the car under those circumstances can be disasterous.)

OP–you are a very foolish person, and I hope that you learn that timely maintenance saves money and potentially saves lives as well.