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2002 S Steering Issue, I Think..

By Steves40th, October 2, 2016

I have noticed a strange steering issue. The steering gets really light when turning. Not all the time, but as of late it has happened a couple times. Weather is around 85, and there is no noise that says anything is going on, and no leaks.

Any idea what this may be? Car has 164000 miles, and the fluid has been changed twice by me overtime and is full, and I am original owner.

How is your power steering belt's condition and tension?

Tensioner and belt are about 8 months old. Sti?l good

It sometimes happens on my 2002 Corolla. Feels like I'm driving my old domestic land yachts from the 70s-80s - with their overboosted power steering - just sneezing on the wheel would cause it to turn.

Double check the tire pressures and how the tires look. Could be the alignment got off, or the tires are running higher than usual pressure (makes steering easier) or worn down to a point where they don't have much rolling resistance (this tends to be more apparent when the tire is getting close to 1/2 worn down).

Another possibility, is that the pump or rack is faulty. Could show up as a sudden overboost / hyperactive steering. Happens usually on trucks with the recirculating ball type power steering, but technically could happen to any hydraulic setup.

I'd keep changing the fluid - make sure you work the steering wheel back and forth a couple of times (try it with the front wheels in the air / car is running) - to make sure the new fluid gets circulated. Nothing fancy - just suck out the old fluid, replace with new fluid, work the wheel back and forth, repeat until the fluid is clear/consistent appearance to it.

My tires are at 35psi, michelins from 2012. Might need to lower pressure to 32.

I will change the fluid. Not enough time to do the rack change.

30 psi cold is the recommended tire inflation pressure, as indicated on your door frame label.

30 psi cold is the recommended tire inflation pressure, as indicated on your door frame label.
Michelin is 32. No worries, I adjusted it down.



Each tire manufacturer is a little different - adjust to your own liking and steering feel. Use the door placard as the lower limit for tire pressures and the max cold inflation pressure stamped on the tire as the upper limit. I found that Michelin tires tend to favor lower to middle tire pressures 30-36PSI for ride quality and tread life.

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