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Why Is My ATV So Hard To Steer and How To Fix it

Tight corners on rough trails require an ATV that can steer effectively without you needing to throw your entire body weight into it. When an ATV is too hard to steer, you need to figure out how to fix it to make your riding more enjoyable. Stiff power steering can make your ATV much more dangerous as you are far less responsive than with power steering which works well.

Sometimes you’ll notice a shift in steering when you move from 2wd into 4wd, but there is a significant change when you’re riding around and can barely steer. The difficult steering can often point towards an issue with your power steering, a tie rod or ball joint seizing, or needing to grease your stem bushings and bearings. Any of these issues can quickly lead to difficult steering, so we’ll help you figure out how to fix it.

atv riding in muskeg

Power Steering System

When power steering systems are installed or worked on, there are a lot of things that can go wrong, making it work poorly or not at all. You can start by checking the fluid, and then go from there.

First, check your white wire in the power steering system and make sure it’s connected to your power source. This is the main power supply to the power steering, so if there’s a connection issue, you won’t have any working part of the system.

Next, you can check all of the connections to the ECU. Any plugs that aren’t fully seated can cause a connection issue in the power steering, making steering difficult at times. All you need to do is unplug all of the connectors and wait a few minutes before plugging them back in. When plugging them in, you should feel a solid click that tells you it’s seated properly.

Another potential issue is the torque sensor. This is the brains of your power steering system, meaning that if it’s messed up, your steering won’t function in the way it should. Using a multimeter, you can measure the volts coming into the torque sensor. The small plug with four colored wires is your torque sensor. When you use the multimeter, you should read around 5 volts.

Tie Rod or Ball Joint Seizing

A tie rod or ball joint seizure will make steering next to impossible. Unfortunately, this also means that you need to do a full replacement of the part that’s seizing. It’s best to find a model-specific owner’s manual to get the proper guidance to getting the part replaced before getting your steering back in motion.

Stem Bushings and Bearings

The stem bushings and bearings require a thorough amount of grease that can often wear down after a lot of rough riding and cleaning of your ATV. To get your steering back, you need to examine the stem bushings and bearings, grease them back up, and slowly work the grease in before expecting any big improvements.

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