Although a power steering failure does not automatically equate to an accident, you are constantly using this system to correct your trajectory and react to hazards on the road, so a problem with this system is a potential hazard. Power steering is a great invention. Without it, turning the wheel of your car would be quite hard work, especially when driving slowly. Stay until the end and find out everything about common power steering failures here .
Your hydraulic and electrical system is designed to support your efforts in the driver’s seat, keeping you fatigue-free and making driving an altogether more rewarding experience. If a power steering problem occurs, you will most likely feel or hear the fault first, giving you the opportunity to avoid serious damage to your car and save money.
Common power steering signs and faults
As with all systems in your car, early diagnosis of faults is the way to prevent problems with individual parts from affecting other associated jobs, and power steering is no different. Keep an eye out for the following signs and common power steering failures to avoid costly repairs and keep your arms fatigue-free.
This is certainly one of the common power steering failures, when the system leaks, which is often accompanied by a stiff response from your steering wheel where you may find it more difficult than usual to turn. If there’s a serious leak and you’ve lost most of your fluid, then you may even hear some unpleasant grinding noises as you turn the steering wheel.
If you run out of fluid, it will burn out the pump completely. And if you hear screeching noises, go down to the garage soon.
What you can do is the following:
- Act quickly and don’t let the problem reach the dreaded squealing phase. At the first sign of steering stiffness, check your power steering fluid levels and keep an eye on them for a few days. Look under the car and if you see the surest sign of trouble, which is red or brown fluid leaking from the system, then it’s time to look deeper.
- A common cause of leaks is a cracked or worn hose . However, if you can’t see any damage to the hose body, you most likely have connection issues, such as loose or damaged clamps.
- If both the hose and clamps appear to be in good condition, the next focus of attention should be the power steering pump . The gasket is usually the first thing to go bad, so check it thoroughly as it could be the source of the leak.
- Lastly, make sure that the entire power steering rack is thoroughly examined, as the leak could originate anywhere in this system. Most often the rack has problems with the main center seal, pushing fluid out of the cat flaps at both ends, or the pinion top seal leaks.
2- Squeaks when starting the car
Do you hear a loud screeching coming from under your car? If you have verified that there are no leaks, it could be the belt, especially if you experience it when starting the car for the first time or when taking sharp turns and curves. The squeal is usually coming from the drive belt, which may need to be adjusted or, in the worst case, replaced.
This is what you can do:
- The first thing to do is check the power steering pump pulley . Examine the strap for any visible faults, such as cracks or missing parts. Any wear and tear should be taken seriously, as it could quickly become terminal. Replace it immediately or risk more problems.
- If the strap is just loose and not damaged, you may need a friend’s help. Jack up the car safely and have it turn the steering wheel while you inspect the position of the belt. If you hear a beeping sound, it’s time to turn off the car, get your tools out, and tighten or adjust the strap back into place.
3- Faults due to rigid power steering
You notice that it takes much more effort to turn the steering wheel and that your arms feel tired after long trips. The power assist may be losing power, which is usually caused by fluid problems, either a loss of pressure or low fluid levels in the vehicle.
You can do the following:
- Check the power steering fluid reservoir as a starting point. It is always advisable to run the car for a few minutes first, this way you will be able to make the most accurate assessment of the actual amount of fluid that is present in the power steering system. If there is a significant lack of fluid in the system , you may want to go to the shop, as there is a high chance that you have a leak.
- If your fluid levels are low you can always top up the fluid, but keep in mind that this will only be a temporary fix and won’t help if you have a long term leak.
- If fluid levels are acceptable, the next most likely reason is loss of hydraulic fluid pressure. Again, this could be due to a leak , but there are other technical issues that could also aggravate this situation, such as cracks and hairline cracks in the hydraulic lines or wear on pump components. A common pump problem is deterioration of the pressure plates, which could cause a loss of pressure.
4- Electrical steering does not respond
Problems with power steering could be caused by faulty wiring and electrical circuitry in the system if it has a part hydraulic and part electric system, such as can be found in the popular Mini Cooper power steering pump.
However, in such a situation, if problems with the hydraulic fluid and cables have been ruled out, the electric power steering should be the next suspect when the steering does not respond properly.
This is what you can do:
- If you have a code reader, this will help you pinpoint the problem within your car’s system , but if you don’t have access to on-board diagnostics or a device scanner, then you’ll be forced to start with connections and wires. in your fuse box, and then move on to checking your battery voltage.
- If everything seems to be in working order, you can always try to reset the system by turning your car off and on again. This will clean up your computer’s operating systems buffers and memory and could be the jolt it needs to get you up and running again. However, if this failure is frequent with the power steering, the reset will only work for so long before you need to take it in for a professional checkup.
These were common power steering failures, and as with all car problems, taking action early is the best way to avoid complications and road hazards. Power steering is a vital part of your car’s systems and helps you keep a steady course. Although you can drive safely without their help, you may find that leaving repairs on for too long means you could end up paying an expensive repair bill.