How to Troubleshoot the Steering System in a Dodge Durangoby Contributor
The Dodge Durango has grown from its original midsize to a full-sized SUV, ultimately replacing the Ramcharger in Chrysler's North American markets. Steering stability is especially important with SUVs and you will want to be able to troubleshoot the steering system on your Durango to avoid problems and keep repair costs down.
Maintain power steering fluid levels. Use Mopar Power Steering Fluid for 2001 models and earlier and Mopar ATF+4 in models made after 2002. Unlike other Chrysler models, Chrysler insists that any other brand will damage the pump and system. Fill with the engine off and, the fluid settle for two minutes and check the level again.
Inspect the linkage regularly for signs of wear or loosening and keep the components well lubricated. Make sure the hose connections are secure to keep air out of the steering fluid and secure from leaks. Check the power steering belt for wear.
Stay on top of tire condition and wheel balance and alignment. Keep tire pressure even and rotate tires on a regular schedule. A number of common steering problems develop from wheel condition and not the steering components and tire and wheel maintenance can head off more expensive repairs.
Counteract excessive steering wheel play by looking for too much clearance in the steering wheel box or signs of wear in the ball sockets and idler arm. Test the rack and pinion boots and look for excessive movement in the tie rod ends.
Correct hard steering by making sure the linkage and gearbox connections aren't too tight (causing excessive friction). Sagging springs or poor frame alignment can also make the wheel difficult to steer.
Track down rattles in the linkage system by looking for loose connections. You can resolve squeaks with proper lubrication of the joints or bearings. If lubrication doesn't fix the problem they may need to be replaced. Loose power steering belts can also cause squeals.