As you drive, the steering wheel is likely the component you touch most, but pay little attention to, often forgetting it’s even there. But the steering system directly connects you to critical control of your Honda. Staying on top of steering maintenance and repairs is vital for safe handling.
Read on for a guide covering how the steering system functions in your Honda, inspecting for problems, when to replace worn parts, steering wheel options, accessorizing, cleaning tips, and understanding steering problems or wheel vibrations. Keep your hands happily on the wheel of your trusty ride.
Table of Contents
- How the Steering System Works in Hondas
- Inspecting Key Steering System Components
- Warning Signs Your Steering Needs Attention
- When to Replace Key Steering Components
- Upgrading Your Honda’s Steering Wheel
- Top Steering Wheel Accessories
- Keeping Your Steering Wheel Clean
- Diagnosing Honda Steering Problems
- Causes of Steering Wheel Shakes
- Ensure Proper Wheel Alignment
How the Steering System Works in Hondas
When you turn the steering wheel, here is what happens under the hood to give you command of direction:
- Your grip turns the steering wheel attached to the steering column.
- The column turns the pinion gear.
- The pinion meshes with the rack gear, moving it left or right.
- The rack connects to tie rods at the wheel hubs.
- Tie rods pivot the wheel hubs for steering angle.
- Power steering boosts effort through hydraulic pressure in the rack.
All components work in concert to convert steering wheel input into responsive, precise tire angle and vehicle control. Any issue can affect handling.
Inspecting Key Steering System Components
Maintain your Honda’s steering responsiveness by periodically inspecting:
Steering wheel: check for excessive looseness, suggesting wear in internal column joints. Torn leather or cracks also necessitate replacement.
Steering fluid: inspect the level and condition of power steering fluid in the reservoir. Flush the system if it’s dirty.
Pump belt: – verify smooth operation and tension of the drive belt running the power steering pump.
Rack and pinion: inspect rubber boots for leaks indicating worn rack or pinion seals.
Tie rods: check for looseness or torn boots. Lubricate joints to prevent binding.
Control arms: worn ball joints and bushings hurt wheel alignment and handling.
Wheel bearings: Listen for grinding noise indicating excessive wheel bearing wear.
Warning Signs Your Steering Needs Attention
Watch for these signs of potential steering system issues in your Honda:
- Excessive steering wheel play, looseness, or vibration
- Pulling to one side during driving
- Odd noises during turning, like clunks or groans
- Increased effort needed to turn the wheel
- Leaks of power steering fluid
- High-pitched squealing from the steering pump
- Uneven front tire wear from poor alignment
Don’t ignore the symptoms. Have the steering inspected and repaired promptly to avoid bigger issues.
When to Replace Key Steering Components
Like any part, steering components wear over time. Here are typical replacement intervals:
Steering wheel: after 30,000–60,000 miles due to grip wear or tearing. Even sooner if worn.
Steering fluid: every 30,000 miles when flushing the system. Check the level monthly.
Rack and pinion: 60,000-100,000 miles. Sooner if looseness develops.
Power steering pump: 90,000–150,000 miles before leaks develop. When noisy.
Tie rods: 60,000–100,000 miles or whenever looseness is felt during wheel turning.
Control arms: 90,000–120,000 miles when bushings are worn.
Don’t delay replacements once issues arise. Steering affects every drive.
Upgrading Your Honda’s Steering Wheel
If your steering wheel has seen better days or doesn’t match your style, consider these easy upgrades:
Cover: Steering wheel covers come in a variety of materials like leather, suede, neoprene, or silicone. Choose a comfortable grip that enhances styling.
Replacement wheel – Replace with an aftermarket wheel bearing Honda logo. Choose sporty flat bottom or luxury wood and leather designs.
Heated wheel – A heated wheel provides comfort on cold mornings. Kits splice into existing wiring.
Wireless wheel – Add buttons to control stereo, cruise, phone and other systems right from the wheel.
Just ensure any wheel properly fits your Honda’s existing steering column and airbag components.
Top Steering Wheel Accessories
Personalize the driver experience with these handy add-on accessories:
Grip enhancers – Anti-slip grip cover areas provide extra handling confidence.
Cushion grip – Make long drives easier with a wrap adding padding.
Custom shift knobs – Colorful and tactile shifters attach easily to steering columns.
Steering wheel desk – Cradle food or devices hands-free over the wheel when parked.
Tablet mount – Bring your tablet screen up to eye level on wheel pillars.
Handlebar bag – Hang storage pouches on pillars to organize items.
Choose accessories matching your Honda’s interior style for a coordinated customized cockpit.
Keeping Your Steering Wheel Clean
Use these tips to clean away grime and restore your Honda’s wheel:
- Vacuum dust and debris from the wheel’s spokes and controls frequently.
- Wipe down with interior cleaning wipes for simple cleanup of surface dirt.
- For deeper cleaning, use a microfiber cloth with diluted interior cleaner. Avoid harsh chemicals.
- Use a toothbrush to gently scrub crevices around buttons, seams and badges.
- Remove sticky residue with an all-purpose cleaner and plastic scraper.
- Treat leather wheels with leather conditioner to nourish material.
- Protect steering wheel covers with vinyl or fabric sealant spray.
Regular simple cleaning removes dirt before it gets ground in while making touch-points look factory fresh.
Diagnosing Honda Steering Problems
Strange steering behavior or wheel vibrations always necessitates prompt inspection. Issues can often be isolated by when they occur:
At low speeds – Power steering pump problems, loose components, bad control arms or wheel bearings typical.
During braking – Warped brake rotors vibrate through steering wheel. High frequency shimmy felt.
At highway speeds – Balance issues like bent wheels, bad wheel bearings or loose suspension parts often felt above 50 mph.
When turning – Binding tie rods, lower control arms, rack and pinion wear.
Over bumps – Excessive wheel play from worn ball joints or bushings.
Don’t just get used to odd steering traits. Identify and repair the cause early before handling is compromised.
Causes of Steering Wheel Shakes
If your Honda’s steering wheel vibrates or shakes, here are some potential culprits to inspect:
- Imbalanced or bent wheels from curbing. Have wheels rebalanced or checked for damage.
- Worn wheel bearings allow too much rotor runout.
- Warped brake rotors rub unevenly. Resurface or replace rotors.
- Bad engine or transmission mount allowing excessive drivetrain movement.
- Loose suspension parts permit steering components to move unpredictably.
- Bad constant velocity (CV) joint introduces vibration at the wheels.
- Tire tread separation or flat spots transmit vibration through suspension.
Isolate the root cause rather than just masking shake symptoms with a balancing. Get to the source.
Ensure Proper Wheel Alignment
Having wheels aligned correctly ensures:
- Your Honda drives straight with minimal steering input on flat roads.
- Tires don’t rapidly wear on inside or outside edges from toe misalignment.
- Stable handling entering and exiting turns due to proper camber settings.
- Consistent steering feel and wheel centering using ideal caster angles.
Alignment should be checked anytime new tires are installed or suspension work is performed. But also inspect for uneven wear yearly. Misalignment accelerates tire costs.
The steering wheel often gets taken for granted as it sits ready for input in your hands. But it directly links your control over the vehicle and road. So don’t neglect this vital component.
Give your Honda’s steering inspection along with routine maintenance. Make repairs immediately when handling seems compromised or wheel vibrations arise. Stay proactive replacing worn steering parts as recommended. Keep your wheel clean and enhance it to fit your style. Prioritize steering system care for confidence wherever the road leads. Those hands on the wheel determine your driving destiny.