Bad Intermediate Steering Shaft Symptoms & Replacement Cost

​Cars are a basic asset present in every home. In today's world, almost every legally aged appropriate individual owns a car or desires to own one. But with great asset comes great responsibility. Vehicles of any kind require close attention to be paid.

There are several components present in a car necessary for the vehicle's functionality. One of the very few overlooked but vital ones is the steering system.

What Does This Do?

The steering system responsible for the controlled movements of the wheels consists of the steering wheel and the steering gearbox. These two components are connected by a thin cylindrical shaped structure composed of bearings and are called the intermediate steering shaft.

At both tail ends of this shaft, "universal joints" are present and serve an important purpose. Each universal joint will be attached to the steering wheel and steering gear box creating a systematic wheel steering connection.

Your wheels can effectively move and function because of this system. For this reason, it cannot be overly emphasized how important the functionality of the steering system is to the safety of the car and the public, in general.

Symptoms of a Bad Intermediate Steering Shaft

This particular car component is located within the car and detecting faults relating to it may prove extremely difficult. How do you have any idea whether there is something wrong with the intermediate steering shaft of your vehicle?

Any car component has specific symptoms which leave paper trails to the source of the problem. A bad steering shaft is no different.

The symptoms are highlighted as such;

1. Noise and Strange Sounds

Sometimes, it may be difficult to identify what car on the road sounds a little off track. It doesn't matter, because every car owner is conversant with the sound their individual car makes. It’s more like the relationship between a mother, and her child.

Once there is a little strange noise, one instantly knows something is wrong. Usually, the unpleasant noisy sound affiliated with the intermediate steering shaft is similar to clunking noise or popping sounds.

This noise begins mildly and gradually increases over time if ignored. Eventually, the steering wheel becomes difficult to control and turn. Why does this happen?

The components of the shaft in the steering system include four needle bearings. These bearings require a supply of grease to prevent rusting and improve gliding which is present upon manufacture.

In time, however, there is a high probability of the grease drying up. This leads to corrosion within the system and restriction in driving. When this happens, damage done to the steering shaft is usually beyond the point of management, and continuous use without fixing this problem puts the life of the car owner and road users at risk.

The most suitable solution for this is a shaft replacement. It may seem extreme, but in order to avoid future issues surrounding the steering system, a complete change of the intermediate steering shaft is necessary.

2. Firmness Of The Wheel

The smoothness of the steering power is the pride of every driver. Cruising downtown, easily navigating through turns without restriction from your steering wheel is one of the joys of driving.

The transition and easy rotating power are crucial for easy driving to take place. But, when there is firmness and driving seems to be more of a bicep workout than smooth cruising, there is a huge problem with your steering system, and the intermediate steering shaft is very much a major suspect.

It is necessary to get off the road as quickly as possible when this happens and request a towing service to aid moving your vehicle to an automobile shop to have your shaft checked out.

Are there any alternatives to self-service? No.

The cause of the problem can be narrowed down to a joint problem in the wheel, but except you are a mechanical engineer, it is almost impossible to open up the steering system and try to defuse the situation.

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3. Tilt Unlocking 

Modern cars are continually progressing in technology and specifications. Some new brand models are equipped with the capability to tilt the steering wheel towards a driver's desired angle for comfortable and aesthetic pleasure.

This is just an added advantage to make driving a more comfortable practice, it does not make a difference to the functionality of the vehicle. Upon titling towards the desired angle, a lock-in to keep the wheel place is necessary.

However, when locking is impossible or difficult to get, this is a symptom of a bad intermediate steering shaft.

Once this control arises, there is inevitably an issue regarding the connection to the steering gearbox. The implication of such is a loose steering wheel and will inevitably lead to the loss of control. An automobile expert is able to diagnose the problem appropriately and proffer an accurate solution.

4. Restriction In Rotation When Driving

The flexibility of the steering wheel to rotate freely during driving is the force behind a car's movement. But, it must spring back to its initial lock position when static or on a straight path. A problem arises when after rotation, the original lock position is not maintained.

This is a catastrophe. Driving becomes very difficult and navigating through corners is hard and tedious to do. The car becomes a walking death-threat. This is another symptom of a steering system problem which may have originated from the connecting shaft.

5. Corrosion In Needle Bearings

As earlier explained, the intermediate steering shaft within its compartments has four needle bearings. These bearings are supplemented with grease within its arrangement to restrict rust, gliding and prevent corrosion.

However, in a situation whereby a car is not purchased new or has been used for a long period, it is possible that the grease within the bearings dries up. This will promote moisture to penetrate, and corrosion will occur.

Abnormal sounds heard while driving is a consequence of this issue. Total damage of the intermediate steering shaft can occur when this issue goes unnoticed. The corrosive effect can be handled by manual greasing. But for how long will the greasing and continuous management occur?

How To Effectively Control The Symptoms Of Damage

When a vehicle manifests two or more of the symptoms, proffering a solution is the next step to take. The sole option in handling bad intermediate steering shaft is an immediate replacement.

It is not a car mechanical part that can be repaired and be guaranteed 100% efficiency. This will be the advice of every automobile repair professional and is required to avoid shaft related motor accident.

Intermediate Steering Shaft Replacement Cost 

Mechanical automobile parts’ prices may vary according to quality, brand or place. Shipping fees because of location could cost more than the machine component cost itself. Considering all these, additional cost on the repair service is also added to the general repair cost of the component.

A replacement shaft is available for purchase on this platform. Purchasing a suitable intermediate steering shaft should cost within the range of $100 to $200 on an approximated average.

There are cheaper offers on Amazon and other online malls, but the gamble is in the quality, brand originality, and shipping fee. Shipping rates sometimes cost more than the actual product and increase the total cost of repair.

It is highly recommended to demand for a locally purchased product around your city as it will be the best cost-effective choice to choose and the right one for the type of car in the country you live in.

The repair services itself are high, especially in a good quality automobile repair shop. The price varies according to location and locality, but on average, it falls between $150 and $200. If confident about self-abilities and YouTube aid, you can cut the total repair cost halfway, by doing the repair yourself.

The delicacy and sensitivity of this automobile problem are very crucial that if a mistake is made during the DIY process, there is a great possibility that human lives are kept a high risk. Seeking the services of a professional is a more advice route to take to fix your bad intermediate steering shaft.

In total, the incurred cost will be about $300.


General maintenance of your car will show any problem involving the steering system even before any prominent symptom arises. Mechanical problems involving important menial engine system for performance optimization should get fixed by an appropriate professional, despite the cost.

The bad intermediate steering shaft is a severe problem which upon notice of any symptom needs rectification and should be dealt with accordingly.

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