RIGHT FRONT tire wont turn when I turn the steering wheel

Tiny
INEEDHELP17
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 FORD RANGER
I recently got into an accident and my front right tire won't turn when I turn the steering wheel. I also popped the tire and need to get a new rim but I already know what I need to do for that. What part do I need to fix my tire? I know I dont really have a lot of information but its the best I have and I really need help! I think some part of the part that attaches my wheel to my axel is broken. All other tires work fine!
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Sunday, October 30th, 2011 AT 8:14 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Have your front end checked by a qualified person. Your tie rod end may be broken though along with a ball joint, really anything.I'm sending a pic alonglook at item 10 that's thetie rod end. And anything else that is bent/broken.
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Sunday, October 30th, 2011 AT 11:04 PM
Tiny
ANGEL JOHNSON
  • MEMBER
Hi. I am having a problem with my 2000 Nissan Maxima where the steering wheel turns 360 and does not turn the tires and do not know what it could be. There was a snapping sound that sounded like it came from the steering wheel while we were trying to push the car into my driveway. The steering wheel was also very hard to turn because the car does not start and while trying to turn the wheel cause something to break! Does anyone have an idea of what it could be?
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Saturday, January 11th, 2020 AT 4:03 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
First, you need to start a new question specific to your car. This became a private conversation between just two people. As such, none of the other experts are going to see your addition or have a chance to reply. That may not get you the help you need. I'll try to help you here, but if necessary, just copy and paste your question here:

https://www.2carpros.com/questions/new

Please be sure to list the correct engine size and mileage. Electrical and other systems can be quite different with different engines, and we look at the mileage when making generalizations as to best suspects.

Your car is a completely different model and brand too. Other people researching a problem similar to theirs won't get to see your question and solution when it's part of this thread.

Your problem has a very different cause too because both wheels do not turn as opposed to just one in the original question. Your hard steering with the engine off is expected, but the extra force you needed to apply to the steering wheel did not cause this problem. It was a problem that was developing already, and that higher force just caused something to break a little sooner. Better it break now while pushing the car by hand instead of it breaking and sending you into the ditch or into oncoming traffic. We have enough car models that do that on a regular basis already.

There's two things you might have heard. The first is going to be a small universal joint in the steering shaft. Those are usually under the dash, although in some models you'll find them under the hood. There's two on your car as shown with my red arrows in this drawing. You'll need to look at the shaft to see what turns with the steering wheel and what doesn't.

The next thing is the "clock spring" was broken by spinning the steering wheel with the broken shaft. That is a wound-up ribbon cable in a plastic housing under the steering wheel. It is used on cars with air bags in the steering wheel to insure there is always a solid electrical connection in case the air bag needs to deploy in a crash. New clock springs always come locked in their centered position, and they must be installed with the steering system in its centered position with the wheels straight ahead. That ribbon cable is just long enough to wind up and unwind only slightly more than it takes to turn the steering system from full-left to full-right, and little more. When it is installed with the wheels off-center by as little as one steering wheel revolution, when you turn fully to one side, that ribbon cable is either going to be too short, wind up too tight, and snap off on one end, (that damage will occur right away, at that time), or it will unwind too far and fold over on itself. That will happen many times over days or weeks, then the repeated flexing will cause it break on that end.

By spinning the steering wheel with the shaft broken, it's a pretty good bet the ribbon cable has snapped already. Normal operation of the red "Air Bag" warning light is to turn on for six seconds when you turn on the ignition switch, then it will turn off. That six seconds is when the computer is performing a series of system tests. If the ribbon cable is broken, the computer will detect that, set the appropriate diagnostic fault code, turn the system off, then the warning light will either stay on after that initial six seconds, or it will flash off, then right back on. The diagnostic fault code to expect to see will refer to "Open squib" or "Open initiator circuit".

Anything else with switches on the steering wheel will not work when the clock spring is broken. That usually includes the horn and cruise control. On some models it can include switches for the radio or transmission too.

Be aware too that on many car models, air bag fault codes can only be erased with a scanner, so you might have to visit a repair shop for that. Once the repair is completed, the air bag system may not turn on and prepare itself for a crash until that fault code is erased.

Here's links to some articles you might find helpful:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/symptoms-of-a-bad-airbag-clock-spring

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/steering-wheel-clock-spring-removal

If by some miracle the Air Bag warning light does turn off after six seconds, you may have gotten lucky and the ribbon cable is not broken yet. If you don't know how many times the steering wheel has been rotated, and therefore you don't know how many times to rotate it back, you might be able to remove the cover off the clock spring assembly, and watch the cable as you turn from left to right. You may be able to lift it off the steering shaft enough to let you turn it back to where it is synchronized / centered. It's easier to turn the center hub of the ribbon cable than it is to turn the steering shaft without the steering wheel attached, but be aware that center hub has some type of locking mechanism to stop you from doing that. It is intended to hold the hub centered until the assembly is ready to be installed onto a car. Usually there's two buttons that get pushed down to their released position by the hub of the steering wheel when that is installed. To say that a different way, if you do have to replace the clock spring, don't become confused when the center hub of the new one can't be rotated by hand. It will unlock when the steering wheel is bolted into place.
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Sunday, January 12th, 2020 AT 12:38 PM

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