Troubleshooting power steering issues

By: Kris LeSueur   |   12 Feb 2024
Image from: The AA

If you have never experienced losing your power steering on the road, here’s what it’s like: a 10-hour arm day at the gym. Power steering is designed to reduce the strain and effort required to turn the wheel when driving. It is possible through the use of a power source to assist you in steering smoothly and comfortably.

Can you drive without power steering?

Yes, you can, but it is extremely tiring for your arms because there is too much resistance from the weight of the wheel. It is especially challenging when you’re making low-speed turns and parking. The loss of steering power is also risky, because you won’t be able to react quickly during emergencies.

If you drive your car for long with a faulty power steering, it may cause significant wear on the system’s parts like the power steering pump and the serpentine belt. The only time you should drive with bad steering power is when you’re going to a mechanic to have it fixed.

What are the common signs of power steering issues?

The main giveaway is that your steering wheel is difficult to turn resulting in a loss in control over your car. Your car may also have a delayed response to turning with a bad power steering system. You should also have your car checked if you feel vibrations on the steering wheel or when it makes noises when turning. Lastly, check for a reddish brown puddle under your car, a common sign of power steering fluid leak.

What should you do with a bad power steering?

It can be tricky to spot what’s exactly wrong with your car’s steering, so it’s best to leave it to the professionals. To give you an idea, there are a few things that they would do to make sure your car’s steering will be back in good condition.

One, they check for the power steering fluid levels. Sometimes, there’s no big complication with your power steering system and what makes it hard to turn is the low steering fluid levels. The simple solution is to replenish it or change the fluid if it’s contaminated.

Next, the mechanic will inspect for a leak. If positive, the leaking part should be replaced.

Your mechanic will also check the power steering reservoir for some air bubbles caused by faulty seals. If they find some, the power steering reservoir should be flushed and filled in with new fluid.

Your mechanic will then locate the drive belt to check if it’s loose. If so, it either needs to be tightened or replaced entirely. The next thing they will inspect is the power steering pump for low pressure or significant fluctuations. They will check the connections in the electric power steering system for damaged wires or faulty connections. And finally, they will run a diagnostic test to ensure that the motor and control unit are fine.

Once your mechanic is done with their thorough inspection, repairs, and replacement, your car should be back to normal steering conditions immediately.

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