It is hard to turn the wheels when stopped/ moving slowly.

So on my car it is very hard to turn the wheels when I am sitting still/ moving slowly, however when I turn the wheel while making a normal turn, this doesn't happen. It doesn't seem that the wheels are grinding on the car so I don't know what's wrong with it.

My car has 160000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
You may have a power steering pump that is low on pressure and cannot produce enough pressure at low speeds to turn easily.

Have the power steering pressures checked by a mechanic to be at or above about 700psi. If the pressure is not high enough, then replace the power steering pump.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

The most common cause of a stiff steering wheel is the lack of enough power steering fluid in the system. This condition can arise if there`s fluid leakage from the pressurized hose area. Refilling the liquid in the power steering tank will fix the problem for the time being, but the leak must be taken care of.
Heavy steering refers to when the steering wheel of your vehicle becomes stiff, making it difficult to turn. This can be caused by a number of things, such as tyre pressure, lack of fluid oil and tyre alignment.
Serpentine Belt is Broken: If your serpentine belt is broken, this can result in steering wheel stiffness. To be more specific, a cracked or damaged belt tends to become loose, resulting in a stiff steering wheel and a car that`s unresponsive to your steering wheel control.
You may have a mechanical problem with the power steering system itself. It could be a bad power steering rack, or it could be that the internals of the rack are clogged up. Of course, a mechanic may suggest a power steering fluid change before performing the more extensive work of replacing a bad power steering rack.
The slower the vehicle is moving, the harder the power steering system has to work. So if the power assist is failing at slower speeds, the more common issue is either a faulty pump or a serpentine belt that is slipping at lower RPM`s.
Sounds like the power steering pump valve is failing or the pump veins are worn and causing aeration of the power steering fluid making the system not function at low engine speeds. Try putting the transmission in low and turning with the rpm`s higher.
There are a number of reasons why your car might be slow to start but runs as-normal once it gets going. Causes can vary from weather conditions to battery health, wiring issues, starter motor concerns and fuel-pump health.
Slow cranking could be the result of several possible conditions, and as you`ve suggested, the fault might reappear or worsen. Possible causes are a degraded or defective battery, faulty electrical connection, a charging system problem, a bad starter or battery rundown when parked.
Power steering fluid – lack of steering fluid can also be a common cause of heavy steering – reducing the pressure in the system. So, keep an eye out for a leak! Also, if your power steering fluid is too thick, this can affect power steering, as the fluid can pick up more debris and dirt.
One of the most common problems power steering systems have is leaks. The high pressure of the system combined with the soft hoses carrying the fluid makes it relatively susceptible to leaks. A low fluid level can cause a whining power steering pump and even a loss of fluid pressure and a loss of steering assistance.
Pump malfunctions, fluid leaks, blocked hoses, contamination of power steering fluid, or worn power steering belts are some specific factors that can contribute to steering system failure.
TRANS TUNE will help smooth out hard steering and quiet a noisy steering pump. TRANS TUNE is safe for use in all petroleum-based power steering fluid systems and does NOT contain harsh detergent or abrasive chemicals that can harm your fluid system.
Constantly stiff hydraulic steering (low assist)

It`s simple to check which problem is present. Because it`s easiest start by checking the fluid, take a look at the steering fluid level and condition to find out if something has gone wrong in the system.

M-type fuse.
The car can feel sluggish and heavy when there is a clogged air filter, a dirty fuel injector, or a problem with the oxygen sensor. A catalytic converter that is going bad can also make the car feel sluggish and heavy. The spark plugs may also be worn out or damaged, causing the car to lack power.
If your steering wheel feels sloppy, like you can move it back and forth a bit without changing your direction of travel, there is a problem with a steering system component. The most likely causes are tie rods that are significantly worn and “loose”, or a worn out steering rack.
Slow Cranking: For the starter to be cranking, the control circuit would have to be working. So, if battery and cable checks are within specification and the vehicle still cranks slowly, then it`s a slow cranking problem and it`s time to replace the starter.
Slow turning valve

If during manoeuvring, the starting air is not inducted for 30 minutes, while the engine is on wheel house control, then there`s an automatic activation of the slow turning mode in which the engine is turned very slowly for at 8-10 rpm and the air is restricted by a slow turning valve.

Too-light steering can make it hard to hold a straight course, while heavy steering can be tiring and may make a car seem unresponsive to your inputs. If steering is described as `nicely weighted`, then it`s neither too light nor too heavy.
All you need to do is turn off your engine, then restart it so the light can reset. In most cases, it should come back on, and this only indicates that it may have thought it suspected a problem due to a mistake in the computer system.
The power steering can and absolutely will go out if the alternator or battery fails while driving.
Most vehicle`s power steering system will last for 100,000 to 150,000 miles before a pump replacement is warranted. Power steering pump replacement is usually an avoidable cost. Just make sure that you continually monitor and maintain your scheduled maintenance program of all of your fluid.
You can drive with a bad power steering pump, but it`s not recommended. The pump is responsible for transmitting power to the steering wheel, so if it`s not working properly, you won`t be able to steer the car. In some cases, you may even experience difficulty braking the car.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

It is hard to turn the wheels when stopped/ moving slowly.
ANSWER : You may have a power steering pump that is low on pressure and cannot produce enough pressure at low speeds to turn easily.

Have the power steering pressures checked by a mechanic to be at or above about 700psi. If the pressure is not high enough, then replace the power steering pump.

hard to turn steering wheel
ANSWER : You need to have the vehicle taken to a GM dealer to perform the steering recall to fix the power assist. You say that they fixed something, but it sounds like it not repair the hard steering. Get in contact with them again to see if they can address the recall properly. If you would rather not take it back to the dealer, a certified technician from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to diagnose the steering and can assist you with repair.

steering wheel turned to the far right and locked in place while the wheel are straight. and I can’t turn the key.
ANSWER : Hi there. From the description you have provided, concerning your vehicle’s steering wheel is locked far right and key won’t turn with the front wheels in a forward default position, is somewhat confusing to me. It could be, undo pressure is being applied to the steering wheel lock. You could try, physically moving the left front tire side to side in either direction, to relieve the pressure on the steering wheel lock. It could be, the key you are using has a problem, try another key if available. It could be, the ignition lock cylinder is at fault. I recommend having your vehicle’s can’t turn the key be diagnosed and repaired by a certified technician, such as one from YourMechanic.

Steering wheel does not center
ANSWER : The problem to me sounds like you have worn out bushings that hold the power steering rack and pinion assembly. This is why your steering wheel gets off center in the direction of the turn. Have the steering inspected and the bushings replaced if they are bad. You should have no problems then.

steering wheel won’t unlock my key turns only to turn lights on but that’s it can’t unlock steering wheel to start the car what to
ANSWER : The steering lock may not be unlocking either due to a faulty ignition lock housing or more commonly as the cars age a faulty spring at the steering wheel on the under side of the column. If the ignition lock housing is the issue the housing can be replaced. It s a bit tricky as the mounting bolt has break off heads and generally need to be driven out with a punch. If the lock is not disengaging because of a faulty spring on the ignition lock many owners have had the spring removed by having it drilled out of the housing. However, removing the spring may permanently disable the steering lock. The last option would be to replace the steering column. You may want to enlist the help of a mechanic who can recommend the proper repair for your situation.

Steering hard when vehicle is not moving forward
ANSWER : Hi there:

It’s really difficult to diagnose an issue like this remotely, without being there to physically test drive or examine the parts. However, these symptoms are common with power steering pump issues or with other power steering components. My advice would be to retrace your installation steps to ensure you didn’t incorrectly install or attach a power steering line first. If that doesn’t help, contact a local mechanic to inspect your Jeep Wrangler to see why you’re having steering issues.

Steering wheel is hard to turn – 2005 Nissan Maxim
ANSWER : As you may know, the power steering system is comprised of the power steering pump and the rack and pinion system down in the front underneath your car. These two systems work together with the use of hydraulic fluid being pumped through a series of valves in the rack and pinion system to create hydraulic pressure which is what you notice in the form of power steering assistance.

The rack and pinion pumps power steering fluid through a series of valves which then ultimately push the fluid to the power steering pump. When the fluid does not freely flow through the system, you may notice the steering to be a bit tough as you describe.

To avoid any unnecessary repairs, I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose your power steering system firsthand.

Steering wheel hard turning on 2007 Volvo V50
ANSWER : According to the service I use to make recommendations by mileage, the change interval for the timing belt is 120,000 miles. 100,000 miles is a little early, but it is better to perform services like these earlier rather than late when a failure can cause damage. The noise can be traced better up close, but since the noise occurs with steering effort you can likely trace it back to the power steering system or front suspension. To have the faulty component confirmed, a qualified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, can inspect the steering system and make the correct repairs.