Emily Chung: Mummy Mechanic


Dry Rub: Don't Try It On Your Car!

Leave that in the kitchen

Dry steer

Ok, so I’m not talking about the kind of dry rub for chicken or ribs. Dry rub (commonly known as dry steer) is when you turn the steering wheel with the vehicle stationary. Not a good idea unless you’re doing a really tight turn à la Austin Powers:

Austin Powers warehouse U-turn

In order to turn the wheels when your car is stationary, you have to exert some force to overcome the resistance between the tires and the road. You can already imagine that dry steer will cause premature tire wear (from the tires rubbing on the road surface), and it will also put unnecessary stress primarily on your steering system. Parts that take the most hit include the rack and pinion as well as your power steering pump.

If you don’t have power steering helping you (for example, when your car isn’t running) then the amount of effort you use to turn the wheel can be exceptionally high. Anyone remember the days of manual steering?

So what to do? The solution is easy. We advise our clients to let off the brake slightly and turn the steering wheel. The car will begin to roll and the resistance on the tires will be significantly less.

I commonly see dry steer happen when drivers are parking or turning at slow speeds. If you dry steer as a one-off, chances are you won’t cause any damage to your car. However, if you’re in the habit of dry steering every time you begin to back out of a parking spot or while you wait for your chance to turn at a traffic light, then over the long haul you will be prematurely wearing tires and/or steering components.

Next time you’re driving take note: are you a ‘dry rubber’?