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Questions and Answers

Dodge Stratus Hard To Turn At Times

Q. Hello Vincent, Below is the information that you requested and the issue. Thanks for any help that you can provide.

When setting idle you can turn the steering wheel one way or the other and there doesn't seem to be anything wrong. Then at any given second it might get hard to turn, like there is no power steering.

Dodge Stratus Hard To Turn At Times

I have not noticed that this situation occurs at any particular point when the steering wheel is turned. It might happen when turning to the left, right, or some where in the middle. I have never noticed any issues when the car is moving and making a sharp turn one way or the other. It seems it is more likely to happen when the car has been parked for awhile (But not for sure). I am in the process of doing a test to see if I can see any difference, I have listed this below.

When I was leaving work, the issue seemed to appear. Then 45 minutes later when I got home, could not make issue occur. Let car set at home in driveway for two hours, issue happened just as I started to turn the steering wheel. Also noticed a couple other things at this time, (it seemed that the steering wheel jerked a little, and there was a little squeaking coming from a something assuming a belt).

  • 1997 Dodge Stratus
  • 2.4 liter 4cylinder
  • Automatic
  • 126,000 miles
  • Fuel Injection
  • P/S, A/C, Cruise Control
  • Rack & Pinion Steering


A. The two main possibilities are the power steering pump or the power steering rack. With an intermittent condition like this it will be tough to confirm either one.

At this point all I can suggest is to check the power steering fluid level, and maybe flush it out. There may be some dirt or contaminants circulating through the system that is causing the problem.

If you want to roll the dice on something, I would go with the power steering rack. After five years it's probably leaking.

© 2003 Vincent T. Ciulla

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