There are a number of different components used in your vehicle to help control the amount of vibration you and your passengers feel as you're driving. One of those is the flex coupling-steering damper. Specifically this part tones down the vibration you feel in your steering wheel. It allows for a smoother more comfortable drive. These vibrations happen as your wheels hit the ground, then travel through the car's suspension system, into the steering components, and the steering column itself.
The flex coupling features an important rubber disc, and it's this disc that is able to absorb those vibrations so you won't feel them in the wheel. It also helps the driver to turn the steering column more easily. Unfortunately this part isn't made to last the lifetime of your vehicle, so over time it will need to be replaced. It is suggested that when you have suspension or steering work done on your vehicle, you have the mechanic also inspect your flex coupling. What happens over time is that it becomes worn, broken, and/or seized. Once this happens your steering will have a noticeable difference.
Here are some warning signs that you can be aware of that may indicate it’s time for you to replace your flex coupling steering damper.
You may notice that your steering wheel doesn't just go back to the center position on its own like it usually should. This could be a sign that your flex coupling has broken or seized up.
As you turn your steering wheel from side to side, you may begin to hear a clunking sound. Again this is a sign that your flex coupling needs to be examined.
Another warning sign is that your steering may feel as though it is locking up. This will happen more and more often as your flex coupling continues to fail.
Keep in mind that because your steering will be affected so greatly, it can hinder your ability to react to other motorists, pedestrians, and just every day obstacles. This is why it’s important to have it replaced immediately.
The flex coupling plays a large role in making sure your steering is smooth and vibration free. At the same time it helps you to control your steering wheel. If you’re experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms and suspect your flex coupling steering damper is in need of replacement, get a diagnostic or book a flex coupling steering damper replacement service with a certified mechanic.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Flex Coupling Steering Damper Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.