check engine light came on and stearing went extreamly loose

driving home my check engine light came on and my stearing went extreamly loose. stearing wheel normally at 9 and 3 its at 12 and 6 parked with tires straight. checked fluids yes i need to add power stearing fluid but its just above the add line..other fluids seem fine belt still in place what could be wrong

My car has 197300 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Hi there. There are several issues that could cause this issue, ranging from damage to the steering column or power steering pump. If your steering wheel itself has turned and is no longer straight when tires are squared, it’s more than likely you have a steering column failure. I would recommend having a professional mobile mechanic come to your location and complete a steering wheel inspection as soon a possible as this could be a serious safety problem.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

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When the check engine light comes on when turning the steering wheel, this usually is for the power steering system. There could be an issue with the power steering pump or the rack and pinion steering system.
The Check Engine Light can mean many different things, so it could be a problem with your power steering pressure switch, or it could be a combination of issues. As soon as you notice your engine slows down, stalls, or speeds up then slows down, have your power steering pressure switch inspected and replaced.
Typically the battery light comes on when the alternator is not providing electrical power to meet demands of the vehicle. That you lost power steering assist along with the battery light coming on, leads me to think the one common thing between them – the serpentine belt drive system – is at fault.
Causes of loose steering

The most common reasons for free play in the steering are looseness in the steering gear itself or looseness in one or more of the steering linkage sockets. Steering box or rack and pinion that is connected to the steering wheel by the steering column.

If you have low power steering fluid either due to a leak or due to the general wear and tear, you will notice quite a few issues with your steering system before the check engine light comes on.
The reasons for a check engine light turning on can range from something minor like a loose gas cap to something more serious like a faulty catalytic converter. It could even be a sign of internal engine failure. Ignoring the problem can turn a potentially quick fix into a costly and time-consuming repair.
Contamination most frequently occurs when the tubes and hoses in your steering system deteriorate and fall apart. Likewise, moisture can get into the fluid and increase friction. Ultimately, this leads to a failed pump and steering which becomes extremely stiff, especially when your car isn`t in motion.
The lack of power steering will make the wheel feel heavy in your hands, and it will also make the front wheels less responsive to your inputs. So if you hit the brakes hard, it will be difficult to react in time to prevent a spin or a skid.
Now, when it comes to the power steering system, if the alternator fails to supply the vehicle with electrical power, the power steering pump will fail, and you will lose hydraulic pressure needed for assisting in steering. You will also lose many other systems in the vehicle.
Steering wheel slips when you attempt to turn it or hold it in a turned position. This is another sign that the power steering is failing. Other causes of power steering failure apart from leakage include faulty pumps, worn steering rack mounts and loose or worn steering belts. Looseness in steering wheel.
The traction-control light is usually a sign that your vehicle is working properly by maintaining traction on a slippery road, but it can also mean that your car has some damaged sensors or wires. Keep yourself safe on the road by taking your vehicle to a trusted auto repair shop at the first sign of trouble.
The TCS light will turn on and off when the system is activated to give you better traction in bad driving conditions. If it remains illuminated even after you`ve restarted your car, it could indicate a malfunction. In these cases, you should drive with caution and take your Sierra for a check-up when you can.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

check engine light came on and stearing went extreamly loose
ANSWER : Hi there. There are several issues that could cause this issue, ranging from damage to the steering column or power steering pump. If your steering wheel itself has turned and is no longer straight when tires are squared, it’s more than likely you have a steering column failure. I would recommend having a professional mobile mechanic come to your location and complete a steering wheel inspection as soon a possible as this could be a serious safety problem.

Car started to slow down and then the check engine light, battery, and engine oil light came on. What could cause this?
ANSWER : Hi there. It is possible that the battery cable came loose or the wires to the oil pressure sensor has came loose or failed. Check the battery cables and make sure that the terminals are tight and clean. Check the wires to the oil pressure sensor and make sure that they are connected and not broken. If everything looks good, then the oil pressure sensor may have failed. Plus, check the computer for codes and see what is stored. This will lead you to the part that could have failed. I recommend replacing the oil pressure sensor then checking to see if the lights will go out. If you need further assistance troubleshooting your vehicle, then seek out a technician, such as one from Your Mechanic, that can assist you with the warning lights that came on.

P2196 OBD-II Trouble Code. came and went in 24 hours. 4 starts.
ANSWER : If the mechanic tested the output (functioning) of the oxygen sensor, especially according to the protocol at this link and found that the sensor was non functioning at that time, what you might be experiencing is a "failing" oxygen sensor and so the latest instance of Code P2196 might be explained by that. A complexity though is Code P2196 has many causes other than a failing oxygen sensor including: a faulty fuel pressure regulator; MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor; ECT(Engine Coolant Temperature) sensor or damaged ECT wiring; leaking or stuck open fuel injector or injectors; and spark plugs and/or coil pack. Basically, if the Code (P2196) recurs, the oxygen sensor output can be re-tested but the mechanic will hopefully be aware of all these other possible causes of that Code setting. If the Code recurs, you can request a check engine light diagnostic and a certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, will get this resolved for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

my check engine light came on a few weeks ago and said it was coolant issue light went out and a few days ago it came back on
ANSWER : Your vehicle has less than 60,000 miles and inasmuch as you mention a possible fault in the engine cooling system, you should check for warranty coverage under Chrysler’s 5 year/60,000 miles powertrain warranty. If you are not covered under the manufacturer warranty, I recommend you request an overheating diagnostic from YourMechanic simply because a car that is overheating is essentially inoperable. You will ruin the engine if it gets hot enough, by warping essential engine components, so overheating has to be resolved before the issue with the electronic throttle is addressed. In your case, inasmuch as the Check Engine Light (CEL) has come on as well, the Mechanic will download the diagnostic trouble codes that always set when the CEL illumuninates and use those trouble codes as clues to resolving the issue you are having.

Check engine light refuses to go off after engine replaced
ANSWER : Hello there, you have a long series of issues going on with your 2013 Hyundai Sonata. If you keep getting a repeating oil light on than there is likely a fault in that system.

Since this fault has lasted after the engine was replaced it could be a oil pressure sensor, wiring harness fault, ECU fault, oil pump, oil strainer clogged, or low oil pressure.

To diagnose this issue properly you need a complete vehicle inspection to start from square one and identify the root cause of all this.

I have a 2007 dodge ram 1500. Check engine light was on code came up as alternator. Replaced it and the check engine light is stil
ANSWER : Hi there. When an error code is created, it is often stored in the ECU until it is cleared by a professional mechanic during a check engine light inspection. It is possible that this is the source of your error light, especially if you are not having any further problems starting your vehicle.

p0011 code,check engine light one, changed bank 1 vvt solenoid and check engine light still on?
ANSWER : The P0011 code is typically caused by oil issues with the car. I would particularly make sure the engine oil level is not low. The VVT solenoid relies on proper oil levels to do their job. If they don’t have enough oil, they won’t work. You can have a mobile technician from YourMechanic visit your home or office to inspect the Check Engine Light for you. If you follow through with a repair with us you will be reimbursed for the cost of inspection.

2012 equinox reduced power light engine light and traction light came on. Lost a lot of power got home and all light except engine
ANSWER : Your car has what is called a "safe mode" that will be engaged by the computer when it detects that something critical has gone wrong related to any of the major components in your engine chassis or power train. This may be related to a number of things, most of which should have been registered in the computer when the check engine light came on. I recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to inspect your check engine light and diagnose any codes registered by your vehicle’s computer.