Both passenger vehicles and trucks can be affected by steering failure. When this happens, it increases the risk of having an accident. Steering failure can be caused by several factors, most of which can be eliminated with consistent maintenance. In addition, there are warning signs that the steering might be affected. Let’s look at the two types of steering failure and the reason they occur. We’ll also look at what you can do if it happens to you. Finally, we’ll examine what a lawyer can do to establish the reason behind steering failure and how this will influence your case.
Justice with a Los Angeles Steering Issue Truck Lawyer
Los Angeles truck accident attorney David Azizi is a respected injury lawyer in Los Angeles. He has practiced injury law for 23 years and helped his clients achieve the compensation they deserve after an accident. He is called one of the top personal injury lawyers in the city by the renowned legal ranking firm, Super Lawyers. His clients know that he works hard on their behalf and wins 98 percent of his cases.
If you are the victim of an accident due to negligence, you can reach out to David at (800) 991-5292 anytime day or night. Call this number and schedule a free case review to find out what your case is worth. Don’t wait to call until the time within which you can file a claim runs out or evidence is lost. Once you’ve retained David, you won’t pay a thing until you win your case. Guaranteed.
Steering Problems in Semi-Trucks
Trucks have many of the same steering problems as passenger vehicles do. Maintaining power steering on a big rig is based on frequent inspection and maintenance. Some of the things that are important to check regularly are:
- Fluid levels: Check the steering fluid levels on both pre- and post-trip inspections. Always use the fluid that is recommended.
- Lubrication: Grease both the steering and front suspension every 15,000 miles or less. This prevents different parts from binding. To do this adequately, the front part of the truck may need to be elevated.
- Filter: It is advisable to change the filter every year or sooner.
- Hoses: The hoses, particularly high-pressure supply and low-pressure return ones may show signs of corrosion. Check them as well as their connectors frequently.
- Fluid: Change steering fluid on a regular basis. Inspect it to see if it has been contaminated. If so, flush the system by draining the fluid and adding fresh. Bleed it a little at the beginning.
What Is Steering Wheel Failure?
There are two types of steering failure: loss of power steering and total steering power loss. Loss of power steering usually occurs due to a leak within the hydraulics. The hydraulics enable the steering to function. It can involve either a slow or a fast leak. If the leak occurs slowly, you will have a warning in the form of a whining noise from the steering column. You’ll also notice that it becomes harder to steer. This provides you with time to bring the vehicle to a mechanic for repair.
Alternately, the leak can be a fast one, which can give you almost no time to respond. The first thing the driver will notice is that it becomes drastically harder to turn the wheel due to its sudden stiffness. This lack of steering capability can make it harder to control the vehicle. It is best to grip the wheel tightly and stay away from high speeds. Don’t brake suddenly, however, since this will increase the lack of control.
Slowly bring the vehicle to a stop. While you are doing this, you might want to turn on emergency flashers to warn others on the road. Once you can do so safely, pull off the road slowly and come to a complete halt. Problems with the hydraulic system can also affect the brakes, making them feel sluggish.
Steering Wheel Falling Off
While this is a rare occurrence, it does happen. Ford had to recall 1.4 million vehicles because the steering wheel might fall off. Both the Ford Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ were affected. The reason the steering wheels might fall off is because the bolts that held the wheel in place were loose. The cars were manufactured from 2014 through 2018. The recall was announced in 2018. In the same year, 44,000 Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Crossovers were recalled due to the same problem. Hyundai announced that the steering wheel assembly was likely to break.
Other Warning Signs of Steering Failure
Aside from a loud whirring noise or sluggishness when turning the wheel, there are several other warning signs. See what they are and what can be done below:
- Steering wheel vibration: Problems with power steering can cause the wheel to vibrate when turning it fully in one direction. This is often due to the buildup of contaminants in the system. Flushing it will frequently solve the problem.
- Extra play in the wheel: When the steering wheel feels loose, it may be due to worn rods and steering racks. Replacing them usually helps.
- Slips: Steering wheel slips can be due to the beginning of steering wheel failure. Apart from leaks, this can be caused by worn rack mounts, faulty pumps or worn steering wheel belts.
- Pulling toward the side: When the vehicle pulls to the side without your input, steering failure may be a problem. This may be due to wear in the steering mechanism. Problems with a steering fluid leak can cause premature wear. This hampers the lubrication of the apparatus, and it is wise to also check for leaks when repairing worn gear.
- Screeching when turning the wheel: A loud screeching sound when turning the steering wheel can indicate a worn belt. This belt connects the engine to the steering pump.
- Grinding: if you hear a grinding noise when turning the wheel, chances are the steering wheel fluid is low.
- Discolored fluid: Upon inspection, if the fluid looks discolored or is foaming, air or even water may have entered the system. This requires flushing and changing the fluid.
What to Do If the Steering Fails
Aside from lowering speed and coming to a slow halt, there are a few other things to be aware of. For instance, if the pavement is slick, this adds additional problems with stopping since the brakes may also falter. It is best to apply slow pressure to the brakes and downshift to help. If the steering fails on a rural road without traffic, it is somewhat easier to handle this emergency. On a busy highway or in congested traffic, you need to warn other drivers about what is happening. The best thing to do is to put your flashers on. You can also honk the horn or try to gesture to indicate there is a problem.
How a Truck Accident Attorney Pursues Compensation
If you are in an accident due to steering failure, it is important to determine why it happened. Your attorney can investigate the accident. He or she can look to see if other owners had a problem with steering, what happened and whether there has been a recall. If so, the manufacturer can be included in a lawsuit. If the accident was caused by lack of proper maintenance, your attorney can check that too. A steering problem does not usually happen all of a sudden, so the attorney can see whether telltale issues existed and what was done about it.
Truck drivers are obligated to keep logs, so this should not be a problem. Passenger car drivers should at least be able to show that their vehicle was checked periodically, and if a sign of steering failure occurred, it was brought to a mechanic for evaluation.
Free Case Review With an L.A. Steering Failure Truck Accident Law Firm
Whether you were injured by a negligent trucker, manufacturer or passenger car driver, you have the right to be compensated for the financial loss you suffered in a steering wheel failure accident. Call the law firm of David Azizi for free advice by dialing (800) 991-5292 or going online. Get one of the top lawyers in the city to evaluate your case and give you an estimate of what it is worth.