I learned to drive in small cars with no power steering. As such, I have a good feel for how much more effort is required to move the steering when stationary, as compared to moving.

The ability to move the power-steering while stationary is useful - it is sometimes necessary when parking in a tight spot, and it is a useful test when evaluating a used vehicle for purchase.

However I think that power-steering while stationary will put extra load and therefore wear on the steering and front tires.

Is it good advice to attempt to avoid power-steering while stationary unless absolutely necessary avoid this extra wear, or is the extra wear so small that it is not worth worrying about?

3 Answers 3


This falls under the same category as leaving your foot on the brake pedal or leaving your hand on the shifter of a manual transmission. Over an extended period of time these things will cause wear in the brakes or shift forks. If this happens just on occasion then there is no problem.

The rule of thumb is, don't make it a habit, but also don't go out of your way to avoid it. Doing it once because you need to pull out of a parking spot won't make your tie rod snap off.

  • 1
    And if your tie rod is going to snap off, much better it should do it while you're parked than moving! Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 22:20
  • Leaving your foot on the brake pedal? Like when I'm at a light? Should I be shifting the neutral instead? and wouldn't that put wear on the transmission? Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 15:12
  • @AlexKibler In both cases i'm referring to bad habits while driving. Leaving your foot on the break pedal while driving (two foot driving for example) is considered a bad habit because it causes undo wear on your breaks. Leaving your hand on the shifter also while driving is also a bad habit because it causes undo wear to the shift forks in the transmission.
    – vini_i
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 15:59
  • Oh wow, I didn't realize people actually did two foot driving (unless we're talking about manual transmissions), and I also didn't realize leaving my hand on the shifter was bad. I'll kick that habit immediately. Thanks! Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 16:16

Steering while the car is stationary is called dry steering. It does cause more wear on your tires. This is true whether the vehicle has power or manual steering. If you have any doubt to what I'm saying, look on concrete after you get through maneuvering as you are suggesting. You'll see extra tire tracks on the concrete. This is tire tread which has worn off of your tire due to this. You can avoid this if you are even moving at a very slow speed (1-2mph). if the tire is rolling, you can feel how fast you can turn the wheel to turn make the turn.

I do realize that sometimes the travel distance you have available to you is quite small. In these cases your do what you have to do. Just realize you are wearing a spot on your tire every time you turn the wheel in such a maneuver.

EDIT: While it is harder on the steering components, due to there being more strain placed on them, the wear & tear is not seen as readily as what you'd see from the tires. Anytime you put more stress on a component, you will shorten the life of that component.


Turning the steering manually or with power steering while stationary or while moving, the stress in the steering rack on wards up to the tyre in contact with the road will be the same. If you have EAPS (Electric Assisted Power Steering ) mounted on your steering column the stress on the steering components beyond the electric motor will be the same. The only component in your car under extra load will be the battery or alternator if car engine is on. The tie rod will not snap because all the components of the steering are designed for steering at high speeds and uneven roads where they are under high impact loads continuously. However, if you have EAPS pl make sure your battery has sufficient time to recharge if you are using the car for short distances, and frequent parking in tight spots.

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