Question: I bought a 2004 Chevy Silverado Z71 Quad Cab. I can hardly turn the steering wheel unless the truck is moving. But it seems to be normal while I'm moving.
Answer: We're assuming there's still some kind of steering assist, seeing that steering feels normal while moving. But just in case, open the hood and take a careful look at your power-steering system. Be sure the power-steering fluid reservoir is full and the drive belt is indeed spinning the power-steering pump while the engine is running. If everything looks good, it's most likely a bad power-steering pump. The pump is still delivering hydraulic pressure to the steering rack, but not enough when spinning slowly while the engine is at low rpm (idle). You can prove this by racing the engine in Park or Neutral, and noting if power-steering assist improves while cutting the wheel back and forth. Just to be sure, it's always a good idea to raise the front wheels off the ground and turn the steering wheel from lock to lock with the engine not running. If it turns freely, this eliminates the possibility of there being a problem with a front suspension part or the steering rack binding. The correct procedure is to test pump pressure with a gauge to see if it meets specifications.
How To Reach Alex
If you have a technical question regarding your pickup, SUV, or van, feel free to contact Alex, a master technician with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Send a letter to him in care of Truck Trend Garage, 831 S. Douglas Street, El Segundo, CA 90245, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the VIN with your question. Due to the volume of questions received every month, we cannot guarantee that everyone's question will be personally answered or will appear in the magazine.
Can't wait for help with a problem you're having with your Truck or SUV? Ask the expert we trust here at Truck Trend Garage -- visit Alex Steele at www.RealWorldAutomotive.com.