Is it possible to turn a steering wheel too far?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Apr 01, 1996

Dear Tom and Ray:

I own a vehicle that has power steering. A few of my friends,
while driving my vehicle, get into situations that require
them to turn the steering wheel until it can't be turned
anymore. But they insist on trying to turn it more even
though the power steering pump begins to whine and the belt
begins to squeal. These large-armed friends actually seem
hell bent on getting that last atom in the steering column
to turn. Can this put such a strain on the power steering
pump and/or the hoses so that harm is being done to these
parts? -- Donald

TOM: Yes. The whining and squealing should be their sign to
stop doing what they're doing. I remember that from my childhood.
When my brother started to whine and squeal, it was time for
me to loosen the vise I had clamped around his leg.
RAY: When you hear squealing, that means the power-steering
belt is slipping. And when it slips, it gets glazed, which means
it'll slip more in the future and need to be replaced
TOM: And the whining is the power-steering pump straining.
At full lock position (when the steering wheel is turned all
the way to one side) the pump is putting out maximum pressure,
and that's when a weak seal or hose is most likely to blow,
causing a leak.
RAY: So this situation is to be generally avoided. It won't
hurt to do it occasionally, like when you're wedged in a
parking space between a Lamborghini and a Ferrari, and your
usual "Driving by Braille" method seems ill-advised.
TOM: But those so-called friends of yours who do this on a
regular basis are harming your car. And I'd suggest the method
that my mother uses on me whenever I make my brother whine and
squeal: a swift dope slap to the back on the head.
A few hundred of those should alter their behavior.

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