How to Troubleshoot the Steering System in a Toyota Highlanderby Contributor
Toyota introduced the Highlander in 2001. It updated the line in 2008 with a heavier engine. You want to keep the steering system in your Highlander in top condition because of the high wheelbase. Troubleshooting your Highlander's steering system is an ongoing, but necessary process.
Service your steering linking and steering knuckle grease every 15,000 miles. Make sure the adjustments are tight without excessive friction. If you do this yourself, inspect the linkage with the front end down and again with the front end up while a friend steers. Check from steering column to tie rod ends to make sure you see equalized movement among the parts.
Keep the power steering fluid level using Dexron 2/3 fluid. Idle the engine at 1000 rpm without turning the wheel until the bubbles disappear, then turn the wheel and add fluid if the level drops below max. Check the power steering belt and hoses to make sure they are tight and look for leaks.
Check your tires and front end alignment if you feel vibrations in the steering column or if your car starts to pull or wander. These are the most common causes and easiest to repair. Replace worn tires two at a time, equalize tire pressure and make sure your wheels are balanced.
Look for leaks in the hoses, boots and rack. If you find leaks track down the source. Your boots may be torn or twisted or your rack seals may be cracked or loose.
Make sure the power steering belt is tight and your power steering pump is pumping at the right pressure. Adjust the steering rack if it is too loose.
Inspect your brakes, wheel bearing and ball joints if problems continue. Steering problems can be caused by sticking brake calipers, warped brake drums or even a leaking master cylinder.