Very hot outside. Started car with a/c already on full blast (factor?). Car started shaking, put it in reverse to backup and steering wheel VERY hard to turn and brakes VERY hard to apply. Turned a/c and car off, waited 5 minutes, started it again and drove home with no a/c and no further issues. This has happened before. What is wrong? Help!! And Thank You!!

  • Something wrong with your power steering maybe? I had a similar issue once on a old Vauxhall (or Opel) Vectra. It started having similar problems to yours. I restarted it and even disconnected/reconnected the battery a few times (as a temporary fix - this was not my car so... lol).
    – Dan
    Jul 20 '15 at 10:35
  • Would that also affect the brakes? Making them hard to depress? I now it affects steering, but unaware it would affect brakes. Thanks for your input.
    – bluemaxima
    Jul 22 '15 at 0:33
  • I'm not sure if it would affect the brakes. I would have thought that the brake pedal is mechanically connected to the brakes unlike the gas pedal which is simply connected to a DBW (Drive by Wire) system. In fact come to think of it, I would hate to have a car with a brake pedal which wasn't mechanically connected to the brakes.... that is a recipe for disaster.
    – Dan
    Jul 22 '15 at 7:04
  • 2
    @Dan - Thank you for the great faith and confidence. To OP: Do you know the tune-up history of the car and mileage? With the A/C on, if the car is not running up to par, it could be dragging the idle speed down just enough to cause the power steering not to function correctly (jerky or hard steering). I don't have enough information about the state of the car to say anything beyond that. Jul 28 '15 at 11:12
  • 1
    I thank all of you for your help. I'm going to ask my daughter about the tune up history, warning lights, rpms at idle. I'll post her answers. Dan, thank you for your help and my apologies, again, worried about my daughter's safety!!
    – bluemaxima
    Jul 29 '15 at 14:32

Check the rpms on it when on idle , it sounds like could be loosing power, could be spark plugs, or your ac compressor might be defective and applies a hold down on the engine and causes week air into brake booster n so when u apply brakes+ steer+ ac rpms drop

  • That sounds like a good guess, the only thing I can think of that would affect both power steering (belt driven) and brakes (vacuum driven) is a low engine RPM, which is often typical when first started, as the OP mentioned. Nov 11 '15 at 20:43

The issue with modern cars is they are too much electronically based.the ac of any car is a heavy load on the system.when a person starts his/her car it is always recommended to start the car at a lower level of ac power.the relays of the car like any protection device get the car in its "safety turn-off" to avoid any major breakdowns. The issue with your car could be... 1)the vibrations could be because of the sudden load on the engine,making the rpm drop which is not a big issue but you should consider buying a new battery as this is caused because of voltage drops. 2) the brakes being hard...well, the only time brakes get hard to press is when there is air blocked in the pistons.you can check it when the car is turned off,keep pressing the brakes for a few times and they become hard to press but as you start the car the trapped air moves out and the brakes are fine again.which might be your case as well.your car being low in voltage,sending a message that the car is turned off,making the steering and brakes hard.when the ac was turned off(load taken off)the car was running fine,wasn't it.

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