of them is a lot more serious than the rest so we will start with that one.
This Page covers the following reasons for stiff steering:
Seizing Universal Joints
Worn ball joints
Contaminated Steering Rack
Power Steering Fuse Blown
Power Steering Connections Faulty
Contaminated Power Steering Controller
Out of all of the problems listed, the seized UJs are the easiest to protect against and the most
likely to cause the problem. Maintenance info for the universal joints can be found
Worn Ball Joint
There have been a few cases of old smarts (99 to 01) developing stiff steering and a
hundred miles down the road the front wheel snaps off. This was down to a faulty ball
joint on the front suspension/steering assembly. Smart seem to be relacing these
for free so it's well worth enquiring if you think this may be your problem.
All snapped joints have luckily gone during low speedo driving and turning.
This isn't to say that it couldn't break while you are on the motorway.