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How to Troubleshoot the Steering System in a Cadillac Escalade

by Contributor

Cadillac bills its Escalade model as a luxury SUV, and, like all SUVs, you want the most stable ride possible. Steering problems can occur from any number of causes and with the Escalade's high wheelbase, you want to make sure you car will steer straight whenever you're on the road.

Inspect your steering linkage for routine wear and damage, especially as you add miles to the car. Check the power steering lines for leakage, loose connections or cracks. Make sure to keep Cadillac's two in-shop maintenance schedules so that a professional can look for signs of trouble you may have missed. For model years 2004 and earlier there is no recommended maintenance schedule for steering, but routine inspection and maintenance every year would be a good idea.

Maintain power steering fluid levels and keep the fluid clean. You should check when you check your Escalade's coolant system and replace it completely every 150,000 miles. Use any high quality power steering fluid and make sure the fluid is at the minimum system fluid level.

Keep your tires balanced, rotated and make sure the pressure is even. Keep the front end aligned. Tires and alignment can cause the most basic steering problems.

Check the Magnasteer variable assist if your car looses steering sensitivity, especially at low speeds. Use an ohmmeter to check coil resistance (it should be 2 ohms) and check for shorts between both sides of the coil assembly and rack housing. If you get an infinite reading you need to replace the rack assembly.

Correct steady steering pull by looking for bent struts or strut towers, collapsed control arm bushings or weak springs. If the front wheels are aligned but the car steers to one side check the rear axle or chassis for misalignment. If the pull gets worse when you apply the brakes the problem is probably with the brakes, control arm bushings or steering arm bushings. As a last resort, raise the front wheels with the engine running to see if the pull stops (if it does, the problem is most likely with the power steering control valve or steering gear).

Fix memory steer problems (where the steering wheel and front wheels want to return to a position other than the center) check the tie rod ends, strut mounts, steering gear and linkage. If the steering wheel is off center but doesn't pull in one direction you may need to recenter the steering wheel and equalize tie rod lengths or check the steering arm and linkage for bends.

Repair road drifting by checking the tie rod ends and sockets, steering column couplings and rack mounts. You can also look for play in the steering rack and gear and for loose wheel bearings.

Warning

  • Replace the hydraulic power assist hose, piping and connections on your 2006 Escalade if you haven't already. These parts were recalled.

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