Locked Up Steering on your Chevy Colorado or Silverado?
Chevrolet trucks have been on U.S. roads since 1918, and are a popular choice for many Americans looking for a powerful and versatile vehicle. The Silverado was the third best selling pickup truck in the U.S.A. in 2021 behind the Ford F-Series and Ram Trucks. The less popular Colorado also sold over 73,000 new trucks in the U.S. in 2021. Now some Chevy truck drivers are having trouble staying on the road because of major Chevy truck power steering problems.
Drivers of Silverado and Colorado trucks are reporting that their steering wheel lock-ups while driving, but the Chevy Colorado appears to be particularly badly affected. Approximately 10% of the complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the 2018 and 2019 model year were about the Chevy Colorado power steering problem.
Colorado and Silverado owners are complaining that their power steering completely locks locked up while they are driving leaving them no control over their vehicle. It can happen at any speed and often without warning though some drivers have heard a rattling or grinding noise just before the Chevy Silverado steering wheel locked locks. The consequences for Chevy drivers, their passengers, and other people on the roads around them could be deadly.
Terrifying stories of loss of steering in Chevy trucks
Some of the stories that Colorado and Silverado owners recount of their experiences are hair-raising. One 2017 Chevrolet Colorado owner recounted:
“…as I approached a 90 degree left turn, applied brakes, tried to turn left and steering wheel locked up. I had to use both hands full strength to turn as I almost went off the road.”
The same driver had to make two more 90 degree turns (left and right) to get safely home and the steering on his Chevy truck jammed both times, almost causing a crash with another vehicle.
A 2018 Colorado truck owner considered himself lucky that the problem happened with his truck on a straight road or “it could have been catastrophic:”
“… the steering completely locked up. Felt like the steering wheel lock when it’s in park, but it wasn’t the column lock, it was from the rack. Was able to slow down and get it to abruptly break free which made the truck swerve.”
The driver managed to get the truck under control, even having to jiggle the steering wheel constantly for an hour to get home and off the road safely. But the situation caused by the locking of the wheel could have ended much worse, especially if the driver wouldn’t have been able to react well in the moment or couldn’t continue driving straight at the time.
The NHTSA has received numerous complaints about the dangerous situations caused by steering wheel lock-ups while driving in the 2019 Chevy Colorado. One owner experienced a complete lock up of their steering at a city street intersection after exiting the interstate, noting that “it would have been catastrophic” if the failure of the steering had occurred moments earlier while driving on the interstate.
Even a brand new 2021 Colorado truck with only 3,500 miles on it became a potential death trap for its new owner. When exiting the highway, the steering completely locked for a second before kicking back in. Luckily for this driver, the steering started working again itself but without a proper fix, there is a real risk of it happening again.
Steering lock up was a problem in the 2014 MY Silverado, though it is not clear if this is the same problem as is reported in more recent model years. Silverado owners describe the same kind of steering wheel lock-ups while driving, and jiggling the steering wheel while driving to unlock it. Perhaps GM is facing the same issue in recent model year Chevy trucks and has not yet found a fix for Chevy truck owners stuck with these dangerous vehicles.
What is causing steering lock up in Chevy Colorado and Silverado trucks?
Some of the common reasons for steering to fail or jam in a vehicle are:
The key ignition mechanism locks up. This can happen due to normal wear and tear, and aging, of the ignition mechanism in a car. Mechanics often refer to it as “sudden lock up.” Drivers often say that jiggling the steering wheel will kickstart the steering again temporarily but the key assembly needs to be replaced to properly fix this problem.
The power steering pump fails. This will cause the steering to jam immediately. Unlike in older cars, most vehicles now have power steering. If the power steering pump fails, whether because of a defective part or road debris contamination, the vehicle steering will lock. The only way to make turning easy again is to drive to a service station where a mechanic can check the steering pump and change it if necessary.
Sharp turns can affect your transmission and your power steering system. If the power steering fails, the steering will lock up. Though you should be able to make sharp turns in a properly functioning vehicle, you may find that you have more steering problems when you make a lot of sharp turns.
However, these common issues do not appear to be the answer for Chevy truck drivers and dealerships who are unable to fix the steering in Silverado and Colorado trucks. Many Chevrolet truck owners have brought their defective vehicles to the dealership multiple times, and are still dealing with the same steering lock up problem. Given the number of complaints, Chevy dealers and GM must be aware of the issue but they have not disclosed the cause of the problem or a fix for their Silverado and Colorado drivers. Nor has GM issued a recall for the steering issues though it does seem to be a significant safety issue.
Some Chevy drivers and mechanics think that the steering wheel lock-ups while driving are caused by dirt and grit in the power assist mechanism, an internal failure in the steering motor, a defective or dying battery, electrical issues affecting the power steering, or complete power steering failure. Some feel sure the defect is electrical and others are convinced it is mechanical. Unfortunately, Chevrolet does not seem to be offering the answer.
You may be entitled to compensation or a replacement pickup truck
The law protects people who have been sold a lemon vehicle, such as a pickup truck with defective steering. The law even makes the auto manufacturer pay all the legal fees. If you have a Chevy Colorado or Silverado with locked up steering that you are struggling to get repaired, you may be entitled to compensation or even a replacement vehicle. At Timothy Abeel & Associates, we have helped many Chevrolet owners get the compensation that they want and deserve. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to find out how we can help you too.