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Steering Intermediate Shaft: How to Tell When Yours Has Gone Bad

Steering Intermediate Shaft: How to Tell When Yours Has Gone Bad

It’s obviously going to be pretty much impossible to drive your car if you can’t get it to turn the way that it’s supposed to. But that might be exactly what you’re forced to deal with if you ever experience issues with what is called the steering intermediate shaft in your car. While most people haven’t heard of this part, it plays a key role in your ability to steer your car while you’re driving it down the road. And it’s going to be imperative that you schedule its replacement if and when yours ever conks out on you. Take a few minutes to learn more about the steering intermediate shaft in your car below so that you’re able to wrap your head around its importance.

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What Is a Steering Intermediate Shaft?

The steering intermediate shaft is sometimes referred to as the backbone of a car’s steering system. And once you know exactly what it is, it’ll be easy for you to figure out why. Your car’s steering intermediate shaft serves as the link between your steering wheel and your gearbox. It has two joints on both ends of it that connect the two and make it possible for you to smoothly turn the four wheels that are on your car.


With this in mind, it’s simple to see why your steering intermediate shaft is such a crucial part of your car. If your steering intermediate shaft ever develops issues, it could very well prevent you from being able to turn your car. It could also potentially put you and others into harm’s way if you’re ever put in a position where you’re unable to turn your car while you’re driving it. For these reasons, you need to keep your eyes peeled for any problems with it and act accordingly if you spot them.

How Does a Steering Intermediate Shaft Work?

In a few moments, we’re going to talk to you at length about some of the signs that you might notice when your car’s steering intermediate shaft is going bad on you. But before we get into that, we want to touch a little more on how this part of your vehicle actually works. Although a steering intermediate shaft isn’t the most complicated part in the world, it can be a little confusing for some people to understand how it works without any explanation.


As we mentioned a moment ago, your car’s steering intermediate shaft sits in between your steering wheel and your gearbox. The joint on one end of your steering intermediate shaft connects to your steering wheel, while the joint on the other end connects to the gearbox. And when you turn your steering wheel, it results in this part moving and turning your car’s wheels in the desired direction. Whether you want to make a sharp left turn or a slow right turn, you can do it due in large part to the work that this part puts in.


As you might imagine, this can then cause issues to occur when your steering intermediate shaft isn’t working in the way that it should. If your steering intermediate shaft is on its last legs, it might not be able to get your wheels to turn when you turn your steering wheel. It’s why you need to monitor your car for any symptoms of a bad one.

What Are Some of the Signs of a Bad Steering Intermediate Shaft?

The bad news for car owners is that, because of where the steering intermediate shaft is located, you’re not going to be able to physically see that anything is wrong with it. There is a good chance that you’re not ever going to lay eyes on this part for as long as you own your car. But the good news is that there are different ways in which you can tell that your car’s steering intermediate shaft isn’t functioning properly. Check out some of the signs of a bad one below.

1. You’re Having a Tough Time Turning Your Car

The first thing that you’re usually going to notice when your steering intermediate shaft is going bad is that it’ll be awfully difficult for you to turn your steering wheel so that you can get your car to turn. It’ll be especially difficult for those trying to work their way around tight corners in their cars. As you go to turn your steering wheel, it might get stuck when you have a bad steering intermediate shaft and force you to try to turn it harder than you would normally. This could lead to you turning it too much and driving right off the road.


Initially, this might just serve as a minor inconvenience when you’re driving. But over time, it’s going to become harder and harder to turn your car when you have a bad one in it. It could even become downright impossible to get your car to turn if your steering intermediate shaft problems are bad enough. You’ll have to get your steering intermediate shaft replaced before you can continue to drive around in your vehicle.

2. Your Car Makes Strange Sounds When You’re Driving It

Just because your car is making strange sounds when you’re driving it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with your steering intermediate shaft. There are dozens of different sounds that your car can make, and they can all mean different things. But you should pay close attention to where strange sounds are coming from so that you can try and diagnose the issue. If they seem to be coming from under your car while you’re turning your steering wheel, your steering intermediate shaft could be to blame for them.


If you suspect that a bad steering intermediate shaft is causing your car to make strange sounds, there’s a good chance that these sounds are being caused by corrosion that has caused damage to it. You might be able to get away with simply lubricating your steering intermediate shaft to get it back up and running like usual again. But if damage has been done to it, replacing it is really going to be your only option. And you’ll want to have it replaced sooner rather than later to stop it from producing strange sounds and causing you to panic.

3. Your Car’s Steering Wheel Tilts Too Easily

Most of the steering wheels inside of vehicles today can be tilted to your exact specifications. You can tilt your steering wheel forward or back based on how you like to drive your car. It’ll help to keep you comfortable while you’re behind the wheel. But you should be wary about what might be going on if you notice that your steering wheel tilts a little bit too easily in recent days and weeks.


Once you’re done tilting your steering wheel, you should be able to lock it into place and hold it in the same position all the time. But if you have a bad steering intermediate shaft, this can result in your steering wheel tilting all over the place while you’re trying to drive your car. This can, of course, make driving very dangerous for you as you’re not going to have as much control over your car as you should. You’ll want to have your steering intermediate shaft looked at so that you’re eventually able to get your steering wheel locked back into place and not tilting around while you’re driving.

4. Your Car’s Steering Wheel Doesn’t Seem to Be Positioned Properly

When you finish making a turn in your car, you should be able to release your steering wheel and allow it to return to the center position so that your car drives straight. Your car’s steering system is specifically designed to make it easy for you to do this. But when your part is bad, you might find that your steering wheel won’t turn back and return to its default position when you’re done making a turn.


You can try to get into the habit of turning your steering wheel back to where it belongs on your own if you would like. But this is going to take a lot of extra effort on your part, and it’s also going to make it unsafe to drive your car. You’re going to have no choice but to take your car in for service so that a mechanic can inspect your steering intermediate shaft and see if that is what’s causing problems with your steering wheel.

5. You Notice the Needle Bearings for Your Steering Intermediate Shaft Are Corroded

There are four-needle bearings located within your steering intermediate shaft that help to hold it together. More often than not, they’re situated in a sealed system that keeps them greased up and ready to go at all times. But once your car is on the older side, the grease that surrounds these bearings may dry up and cause complications. In some cases, a lack of grease can even lead to corrosion and rusting.


If you know your way around a car, you might be able to inspect your needle bearings yourself to see what kind of shape they’re in. They could be to blame for a bad one of these parts. But you’ll most likely need to have a mechanic check out your steering intermediate shaft to see if this is what’s leading to problems with it. You might have to replace this part as a result of any corrosion that has taken place.

Is It Safe to Drive a Car With a Bad Steering Intermediate Shaft?

When your car’s steering intermediate shaft first starts to give you fits, you might be able to keep on driving your vehicle around without worrying too much. A lot of the time this part will go bad on you slowly and not put you into any immediate danger right away. But if you ignore a bad one for too long, that’s when it can start to become dangerous to be behind the wheel of your car. You might struggle to turn your steering wheel when you have a bad steering intermediate shaft on your hands, which could result in you getting into an accident.


This is why it’s so important for you to take your car to an auto repair shop at almost the first sign of trouble with your steering intermediate shaft. If you even suspect that there might be something going on with your steering intermediate shaft, you should have a mechanic check it out to see if it needs to be replaced. It could help you avoid getting into an accident later on.

How Much Will Steering Intermediate Shaft Replacement Cost?

Despite the fact that this part is a very important component within your car’s steering system, it’s not the most expensive part in the world to replace. The price that you’ll pay for its replacement is going to vary depending on what kind of car you drive and where you take it to get fixed. But on average, most car owners spend somewhere between $200 and $400 for a new steering intermediate shaft. This includes the price of the new part itself and the labor associated with installing it.

Can You Sell a Car With a Bad Steering Intermediate Shaft?

If you know that the steering intermediate shaft in your car is in bad shape, you should replace it right away. The only time when you might not want to take this approach is when you know you’re not going to have your car for much longer. In that case, you can put off replacing this piece and attempt to sell it instead.


Most private buyers are going to shoot down the idea of purchasing a car with a bad steering intermediate shaft in it. But a company like Cash Cars Buyer will jump at the opportunity. We’ll buy your car from you in spite of your issues and pay you top dollar for it. Contact us today to receive an offer for your vehicle.