Having your car break down while driving isn’t the most pleasant of experiences. One reason could be that something is causing the brakes to give out while driving. And, when it happens on the highway, it’s not just inconvenient but potentially life-threatening. However, you may be able to fix it.
So, why are your steering wheel and brakes locked up while driving? It could happen for a faulty steering problem, suspension issue, or for serious maintenance issues. Whatever the cause, it has some effective solutions that are discussed in this article.
This article will examine the top six reasons your steering wheel and brakes may have locked up while driving. From mechanical failures to wiring issues, you’ll be able to find out the root of the problem and how to fix it.
Why My Steering Wheel And Brakes Locked Up While Driving?
The most typical reasons the steering wheels and brakes are locked up while driving has been discussed are:
- Problem With The Steering Rack/Column Or the Suspension
- Hydraulic Hose Rupture In The Power Steering
- Car Ignition Lockup
- Failure Of The Power Steering Pump Belt.
- Sharp Turns
- Miscellaneous Reasons
1. Problem With The Steering Rack/Column Or the Suspension
The Steering Rack Column (SRC) is a column that sits in the center of a suspension system and adjusts the level of suspension travel. If you’re experiencing problems with your steering wheel and brakes locking up while driving, chances are you’re having a problem with your steering suspension.
There are a few reasons the steering rack column or suspension could go out. First of all, if the column is not correctly secured to the frame. Then, if it becomes loose from use and needs to be replaced. Finally, if the column is not maintained correctly, it could rust or become damaged over time.
Also, If your car’s suspension is poor, it may not be able to handle the forces exerted on it when you’re driving. This can lead to your wheels locking up when you try to steer. However, you can often fix this problem by replacing the springs or shocks in your car.
2. Hydraulic Hose Rupture in Power Steering
Hydraulic hoses in power steering can rupture typically due to age or damage. Thus, when this happens, the hydraulic pressure in the system can cause the steering wheel to lock up and the brakes to stop working. In severe cases, this may be enough to cause a car crash.
3. Car Ignition Lockup
If your car has an ignition lockup, it might not be safe to drive. A car’s keyless ignition system lets you start the car without taking your keys. Reasons for car ignition lockups are:
- Dirty or Clogged Brake Fluid: If the brake fluid is dirty, it can cause the brakes to lock up. Additionally, if the brake pads are dust-covered, they will stop working correctly as well.
- Clogged or corroded steering cable: A clogged or corroded steering cable can cause the car’s steering to lock up.
- Failed power steering pump: A failed power steering pump can lead to a loss of power to the car’s steering system, which can cause it to lock up.
- Damaged serpentine belt: A damaged serpentine belt can create friction. And wear on various parts of the car’s engine and drivetrain, including the brakes and steering system.
- Frozen lines: Frozen lines on either side of transmission can block oil from being sent to the gears, which can cause them to freeze and lock up
4. Failure of the Power Steering Pump Belt
Power steering pump belts can fail usually due to a worn or broken belt. When this happens, the power steering fluid won’t be able to flow as it should, and the car will start to lose control.
The most common sign of a failed power steering pump belt is a loss of control when turning the wheel. Other signs may include:
- The car suddenly jerks when you turn the wheel
- It feels like the car is losing power when you turn the wheel
- The horn keeps going off even when the car is immobile
5. Sharp Turns
When you take a sharp turn, your car’s steering wheel and braking system can be affected. Likewise, steering wheel lockup can occur when the steering wheel cannot remain in its original position due to excessive force.
Therefore, while brake lockups happen when the brakes don’t have enough time to engage, both situations are dangerous and can lead to an accident.
6. Miscellaneous Reasons
Also, some other minor reasons can lead your steering wheel and brakes to lock up while driving.
- Faulty wiring or connections can cause your car’s electrical system to malfunction.
- Contaminated areas on the car’s brake pads can cause them to stick, preventing the brakes from working. Accordingly, a lousy shift cable can also cause your car’s transmission to lock up.
- Driving in heavy traffic, Sedans and other mid-sized cars tend to experience more gearbox issues than larger vehicles.
- Poor maintenance and care on the driver’s part can also lead to car problems.
What to Do in Case of Power Steering Failure?
If you experience a power steering failure while driving, the first things you should do are:
- pull over and park the car in a safe place
- turn off the car
- wait at least 10 minutes before attempting to start the car
- Go to a maintenance shop
All these factors can contribute to why your steering wheel is locked up while driving. So be sure to check them before you resume your journey.