How to Troubleshoot the Steering System in a Subaru Outbackby Contributor
Subaru released the Outback in 1995 as an all-wheel drive crossover. Originally only a station wagon, Subaru offered it as a 4-door sedan after 2000. If you want to keep your Outback on the road and steering straight, you may want to keep a few troubleshooting guidelines in mind.
Service the steering system every 15,000 miles. Make sure the connections are lubricated, the parts are in good condition and the fluid lines aren't leaking, loose or worn. Regular maintenance can ward off steering problems and preserve steering system life.
Start your troubleshooting inspection with the three basic causes of steering problems: tires, alignment and fluid. Unbalanced, worn or uneven tires can cause vibrations and drag as can an unbalanced front end. Low or contaminated fluid can create problems with the power steering, making your Outback even harder to steer. Eliminate these culprits before you tackle more expensive repairs.
Track down the causes of hard steering by looking for slippage in the power steering drive belt and low pressure in the power steering pump. Other possible causes could be poor lubrication, damage to the steering gearbox or excessive friction between linkage connections.
Correct loose steering by tightening the steering linkage. If the components are worn, they may have to be replaced. You may also need to adjust your steering box.
Look for leaks in the power steering fluid lines if your power steering cuts out. You may also need to replace the power steering belt or replace the power steering fluid. As a worst-case scenario, you may need to replace the pump. If your power steering components check out, the problem may actually be with the steering linkage.
Check the linkage and wheel bearings if the car seems to pull or wander. You may also need to replace the springs or repair the brakes. One simple thing to check is how much weight you're hauling. If your car is overloaded, or weighted too heavily on one side, it can definitely throw the steering off.