How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Matt Your Own Question
Matt, Mechanical Engineer
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 21599
Experience:  BEng, Repaired my own cars and others for 20 years, worked in Formula 1 for 10 years
Type Your Toyota Question Here...
Matt is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

We have a 2001 Toyota Camry which runs great. However one in

Customer Question

We have a 2001 Toyota Camry which runs great. However one in awhile the steering locks up and causes very hard steering. Park it and shut it off and it comes back fine and goes a long time before happening again. Can't diagnose because does not happen that often. Is it the belts or what?
JA: Which belt is acting up? And when was it last changed?
Customer: None of the belts have been changed for some period of time. Don't know if it is the power steering belt or something else.
JA: Are you fixing your Camry yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: No we have a great mechanic but never can catch it in the act to diagnose.
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  Matt replied 8 months ago.


if the steering effort seems high the 1st thing to check is if the fluid level in the power steering reservoir is up to the mark ( check this when the engine is warm)

also if the drive belt on the front of the pump is in good condition and the pump isn't making any odd noises especially when you turn the steering

Then check that the tyre pressures are correct to those stated in the manual / on the door jamb sticker,

if this all seems OK then I'd jack the car up so the front wheels are off the ground and move the road wheels from lock to lock by hand feeling for any tight spots as you move it

To feel if there's a worn strut top bearing then lightly hold the spring by hand and have your assistant move the steering from left to right with the wheel on the ground - a worn bearing will feel 'notchy' through the spring. The wheel needs to be on the ground for the test to load up the bearing

if its tight throughout the movement this could be a faulty steering rack or a seized strut top bearing

if you've been getting any strange clonking or 'boings' from the front suspension this points to a worn strut top

if there are tight patches of movement then its likely that a steering column universal joint is seizing up

so try dousing the joints one at a time in WD40 - or similar penetrating oil and turning the wheel in between to see if this makes any difference

Expert:  Matt replied 8 months ago.


do you still need help?

Bear in mind that the site takes a deposit from you at the beginning and this is held by the site until you rate my answer at which point the cash is split between the site and the expert. I am only paid for my work on this question if you rate my answer, using the star system at the top of the screen. Please do not forget! Thank you