The power steering is basically a new integrated system in many modern car models, which allows the drivers to turn their vehicle’ wheels with ease and comfort. When there are any problems occurring in this part, the process of turning a wheel could become physically tedious. In some situations, it could even lock up so you could not turn the vehicle at all.
As soon as you notice any signs of steering issues, it is important to immediately have it checked by an experienced mechanic to avoid an accident on the road due to the failure of power steering.
Causes of Power Steering Problems
In general, there are a lot of reasons for issues in a power steering system, which could be found out and solved easily. The following are some common signs that you should pay special attention to whenever recognizing any problems with steering components:
- Check the fluid in power steering to see whether it has been old. In general, the fresh fluid has a distinctive smell and dark red color. After using for a long time, it would become dark gray with foam and bubbles as the result of oxidation. This would lead to the degradation of pump in a power steering system.
- A drop in the level of fluid in the power steering.
- A squealing sound, particularly while you are turning your car.
- The vibration of any steering wheels.
- Difficulty in steering your car.
If your vehicle shows any symptoms mentioned above, then the power steering system would have a problem. Understanding the reason behind an issue is important to make it much easier for repairing your car.
How to Fix a Problem With Power Steering?
You can apply the following methods when your power steering system does not work properly:
1. Fill Fluid into The Power Steering
Most car drivers, who are also equally interested in the operation of the engine, might know how to check the fluids. Just like how you examine the coolant, brake fluid, gas, or oil, you also need to see the fluid in your power steering system frequently. When the level of is less, then there is a possibility of leakage in the pump. In these situations, you should do the following tips:
- Fill fluid into the pump of the power steering with the indicated level.
- Keep checking this level for a couple of days to see whether there are any drops, which are often caused by leakage.
- If the level of fluid is reduced, there would be the possibility of leakage due to the slipping off of the pump belt in the power steering.
2. Change The Pump Belt of The Power Steering
In fact, a pump belt does not easily break off; instead, it would slip off and cause some problems with the power steering. Also, this issue would occur when you are driving during heavy rain or at an extremely high speed, which leads to sharp turns. The following steps would help resolve the problem:
- Jack the front part of your vehicle to a higher level to have a clear look at the bottom area.
- Ask someone on the car to turn the power steering in the right and left direction fast and randomly when the engine is being off.
- You would start hearing a screeching sound and eventually notice the slip of a pump belt from the bottom.
- You could manually adjust the pump belt to the original position. Otherwise, have it performed by a professional mechanic.
- During this process, also visually check the assembly of the power steering and other components, which would be worn out or become loose.
3. Change The Pump Bearing
Most of us know that the pump is the most important part of a power steering system, which takes power input from the engine of your vehicle and makes the process of steering easier for drivers. This part is designed a wheel in the front part to take in the operating fluid. When the power steering does not work correctly, then it could also be due to an issue in the bearing of this pulley.
Usually, the bearings could wear out after using for a long time. In such situations, you need to replace the entire pump.
4. Get Rid of Clogs in a Power Steering System
The fluid in a power steering system, which is pumped backward and forward, is the heart of this part. It is operated at a high pressure to force the rack or gear of the system to turn your vehicle right or left. To achieve this, your car is designed with many small passages. If those passages are blocked, it could lead to malfunctioning of the power steering system in your vehicle. In general, those clogs would drastically increase the pressure of the fluid and cause a whining sound. Eventually, it results in the premature failure of the power steering system. However, it is really challenging to find out such clogs.
You can deal with this problem by replacing the fluid or flushing the whole system. Sometimes, it requires the replacement of the gear or rack in the system.
In most car models these days, power steering is a built-in feature so that driver could steer more easily. With more and more technological advances, such similar features would provide easy and comfort of driving on the road.
However, problems with steering parts can happen frequently. So have your vehicle maintained regularly, particularly if you are planning to have frequent long drives. Always pay close attention and find out problems as soon as possible, which could keep severe damage from occurring. And this also ensures long life of operation for your best companion on the road.