Unlike some mechanical problems, steering problems generally give you plenty of warning that something is wrong, and the warning signs persist until the problem is fixed or the system fails.
If you have power steering, as most cars do these days, then this could indicate the system has a problem. Firstly, check to see if the fluid reservoir is full. If it isn't, fill it up. If the next time you check, it has gone down again, then check under the vehicle for signs of any fluid leakage. Leaks can be in the steering pump, hoses or the steering rack itself.
While this is often an indication of wheel alignment problems, steering wheel vibration can also indicate a problem with the power steering. A build-up of contaminants in the system can cause the steering wheel to vibrate or ‘pulsate' when the wheel is turned fully in one direction or another. A power steering flush would normally fix this problem.
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.
This is usually caused by worn steering racks and tie rods.
This is usually caused by faulty or worn tie rods. If allowed to continue, it will cause the whole car to vibrate and eventually lead to loss of steering, so it should be rectified as soon as the problem is discovered.
This often indicates a problem with a worn steering gear. Premature steering gear wear can be caused by lack of lubrication from power steering fluid, so you should also check for any power steering leaks when replacing a worn steering gear.
If you have to turn the steering wheel more than an inch before the wheels begin to turn, then you can be fairly certain there is a problem with the steering gear.
This is yet another indication of a steering gear problem.
This is often caused by a loose or worn power steering belt. This is the belt that connects the power steering pump to the engine. The screeching noise could also be a symptom of low power steering fluid levels, as mentioned before.
This indicates that air or water has gotten into the system and the fluid is not lubricating the components properly.