With a worn steering column shaft seal on your vehicle, every time the operator of the vehicle attempts to change the direction the vehicle is moving in, resistance will be felt. This is the portal where the steering shaft leaves the passenger compartment and enters the engine compartment. With the opening of the steering column shaft seal being larger than what specifications allow for, the linkage in the engine compartment will begin to bind, making the turning action by the operator more and more difficult as time marches on. At one point when it is really worn, the steering could lock up and the operator loses control of the vehicle.
On most models, the steering column shaft seal is now made of a stiff polymer composite material while in the past it was a metal alloy. As the shaft is being turned, the hole where the shaft runs through it will become larger because of the friction caused by the turning motion. This is what wears the steering column shaft seal causing it to be periodically replaced by the operator of the vehicle. This portal is in the fire wall and does not become damaged from impact, but from wear of being sued over time.
The replacement of the steering column shaft seal requires that the steering shaft be removed from the firewall. In most instances, it does not need to be completely pulled from the vehicle, just enough to get the steering column shaft seal out of its position on the fire wall. The linkage in the engine compartment will also have to be taken off to help accomplish this task. When installing the new component, a thin layer of grease can be placed on the surface where the shaft will rotate to help make the tuning action smoother.