How to Fix a Loose Tilt Steering Column


A loose steering wheel or column can cause you to pull harder on your wheel than necessary or even snatch your wheel while driving posing danger to not only you and your passengers but also others. Not only that, a loose steering column can make parking your vehicle a real chore especially when trying to park on a busy street. A loose steering column is something that needs to be attended to right away for better driving ability and safety reasons. This repair is tedious so have a camcorder handy if possible to record each step for easy reassemble.

Things You'll Need

  • Hammer
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Channel lock pliers
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Steering wheel puller
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Park your car where you will be working and then disconnect both terminals from the battery post using an adjustable wrench. Remove any centerpieces covering the steering wheel bolt and then unscrew that bolt with the adjustable wrench. Attach the steering wheel puller to the steering wheel as illustrated on the package (very important) and then remove the wheel and lock plate.

  • Remove the retaining ring using channel lock pliers. Remove the screw that holds the turn signal to the metal stalk and then the other three screws that hold the turn signal switch assembly with a screwdriver. Look under the dash and unhook the wiring harness to the turn signals using your hands.

  • Loosen the steering column bracket that connects the steering column to the dashboard and then remove only two of the bolts so you can remove the wiring harness to allow removal of the steering wheel housing later. Put in your key and turn it to the on position. Unscrew the small screw with a screwdriver to release the lock cylinder and then pull the cylinder out. Remove the three large bolts from the steering column.

  • Pull off the driver’s side of the housing being sure to catch in your hand the dimmer switch piece and parts of the upper bearing. Look down the steering shaft for a retainer clip attached to a large spring located on the inside of the tilt assembly and then depress that retainer with a screwdriver until you can remove the spring assembly. Pull out the two pivot pins located in the tilt column using a pair of pliers.

  • Pull the tilt adjusting arm toward you. Tilt the steering column up and to the right as far as it will go until you can get the steering wheel rod that comes up from the ignition switch to release itself from the ignition switch by matching it up with the actuator rack. Pull off the tilt section of the housing. Reassemble the steering column by doing a reversal of the process used to disassemble.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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