The pitman arm is part of the steering component in your vehicle. It is connected to the sector shaft and moves in a circular motion with the help of the ball joint. This motion causes the wheels to move left or right, depending on which way the steering wheel is moved. It is important you have your pitman arm in good working condition because poor steering can be hazardous to you and those around you. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms of a bad or failing pitman arm.
1. Poor steering
If you notice your steering has lots of play while you are driving, such as the wheel turns more than it should before the wheels engage, then chances are your pitman arm needs to be looked at. Since this is part of your steering and is critical for proper operation of the steering system, the diagnostics and repair should be done by the professionals at YourMechanic. Contact them as soon as you notice your vehicle is not steering like it used to and have your pitman arm replaced.
2. Wandering to the left or right while on the road
Is your vehicle pulling to one side or the steering seems difficult? It is time to have your pitman arm looked at. A bad or failing pitman arm can cause your vehicle to not respond appropriately when you turn the wheel. Not only can it have lots of play, it can be highly inaccurate or seem to have a mind of its own while you are driving down the road. This can be especially dangerous during hazardous weather conditions or on a busy highway.
3. Inability to steer
When the pitman arm completely fails, you will lose all steering in your vehicle. The pitman arm should be replaced before the problem gets to this point. This is a dangerous situation, so if you notice any of the symptoms above, they should be looked at before the pitman arm completely fails. If you do lose the ability to steer, do not keep driving. Slow down to a stop and call for assistance.
If you have poor steering, your vehicle seems to wander, or you have lost all ability to steer, chances are your pitman arm needs to be replaced. Book a service online 24/7 at YourMechanic to have this completed in a timely manner and before your steering completely fails. In addition, if you drive off-road often, inspect your pitman arm for wear and replace it as needed to keep yourself and others safe.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Pitman Arm and was authored by Spencer Clayton.