Being a high-performance vehicle, you've likely never before experienced problems with turning your Volvo steering wheel. Unless, that is, you've faced a leak, malfunction, or some other type of breakdown in your power steering system.
When problems occur in your power steering system, it is important to get them taken care of right away. Failing to do so could result in an accident with a car full of people sailing down the highway. That is no time to think, "Oh boy, I should've gotten that power steering looked at!" If, indeed, you have time to think at all.
Then again, if your steering wheel is hard to turn, it may not be a power steering problem, per se. Let's take a look at some reasons why you may be finding it hard to turn your Volvo steering wheel.
Thick Power Steering Fluid
Over time, debris and dirt are collected by your power steering fluid. This applies to most any fluid in your car. Eventually, however, it can't lubricate all of the power steering system components as it has become too thick to freely flow through the system. Particularly at low speeds, the steering will be difficult. It can be hard to determine if this is the problem. If this is a problem, the old fluid will need to be flushed out of the system which can then be refilled with new liquid.
A Malfunctioning Pump
Your Volvo power steering system keeps the right amount of pressure because of this major player – your pump. If the pump stops working or gets damaged, you will have extreme difficulty steering. The wheel may not stall completely, however, with an impaired pump. It can present a safety problem though because it will be much harder, and more effort will be needed, in order to steer your vehicle.
A Power Steering Fluid Leak
Plain and simple – power steering fluid should never leak. If a pressurized hose gets loose or develops a leak, fluid will seep through. The pump will dry out as the pressure is reduced and steering becomes burdensome. If you notice, in your power steering system, and in adequate fluid level, there is probably a leak.
Your Serpentine Belt Is Damaged
A broken or cracked serpentine belt can cause you to have difficulty with your Volvo steering wheel. Every time you drive your car, it wears on the serpentine belt. Eventually, the belt can become loose and erode. The power steering will go altogether if, because you failed to get the worn belt replaced, it completely breaks.
The Steering Rack Has Gone Bad
Through a series of U joints and shafts, your steering wheel and steering rack are connected. Every day driving simply wears out the rack, or it can get damaged. If, right after you start your car, you find the wheel stiff, your steering rack might have a problem. As you continue to drive, gradually, the problem seems to rectify itself. That's because the rack is getting lubricated as the car runs and gets hotter.
Front End Alignment/Tire Pressure
Important to your Volvo power steering is front-end alignment. When making a turn, your car may pull to one side if your tires are wearing unevenly. Uneven wear is a sign that your wheels are likely misaligned. Difficulty steering could be caused by your car needing realignment.
Steering wheels can be hard to turn if in your tires have improper air pressure. Use the manufacturer's recommended PSI when you inflate your tires.
A stiff steering wheel can be the result of components wearing out, especially if late servicing or irregular maintenance is the problem. Before a power steering problem gets worse, have your car serviced when you spot signs of trouble.