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How to Troubleshoot the Steering System in a Toyota Tacoma

by Contributor

The Toyota Tacoma compact pickup currently leads the U.S. midsize pickup market. The 2005 generation packed more power than its predecessors and shipped with eighteen possible configurations. You can keep your Tacoma's steering system driving straight by remembering a few troubleshooting basics.

Check the power steering fluid monthly to make sure it remains between warm and cold levels. Use Dexron II or III automatic transmission fluid. Make sure the fluid is clean and free of air bubbles. Check the hoses and power steering belt to make sure they aren't loose.

Service the rack and pinion assembly and steering linkage every 15,000 miles. Raise the front end and check the components with the steering wheel turning. Check again with the front end flat to make sure the components turn evenly.

Rotate your tires every 5,000 miles. Balance the wheels and keep the front end aligned. Make sure the lug nuts are tight and replace worn tires two at a time.

Correct excessive pulling to one side by looking for signs of wear in the tie rods and steering rack. Worn steering components can also cause your car to shimmy excessively. If the linkage isn't the problem, check your brakes to see if the caliper is sticking or a problem with the brake drum is causing the wheel to drag.

Look at the power steering rack and pump if the steering wheel seems to be slipping or becomes hard to steer. You should check the pump pressure and look for leaks in the steering rack. You should also check the rack mounts for excess play.

Track down noises, especially at low speeds, by looking at steering fluid levels and the power steering brakes. If the sound occurs while you're applying or lifting the brake, the problem might lie there. Rattles are most likely caused by loose or worn steering linkage.

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