We count on our cars to take us where we need to go every day. It’s frustrating when something goes wrong and suddenly our car isn’t acting as it should. One function that we expect to work properly every day is our power steering. It’s essential to pay attention to the common power steering issues to have repaired before they turn into a bigger problem.
Power steering uses a fluid that moves the pressure in order to make the wheels turn. If you find an unknown fluid leaking from your vehicle, make sure to have it checked. You may hear a grinding noise as one of the first signs there’s a leak.
Power steering hoses wear out after years of use, showing signs of age as they harden and crack. The couplings connecting the hoses also wear out over time. Both issues cause leaking of power steering fluid. If it goes on too long, you’ll find yourself on the road, suddenly unable to steer.
Ball screws are used in power steering components to convert rotational motion into linear motion (assisting in the motion of the wheels). Ball screws are preferred because of their rotational ability and lack of friction. To keep the steering system working smoothly, ball screws must be well lubricated. Over time, if not well-maintained, a ball screw will need rebuilding or replacing if it has worn out. Once rebuilt, you can use the ball screw again, just as if it were new.
When the drive belt slips, you can’t turn your car in a different direction. If you’re driving and hear a whining noise as you turn, have the drive belt checked. It drives the pump, and without it, fluid pressure is gone.
It’s unavoidable—as our cars age, the pumps age as well. Seals and other parts break down over time, leading to fluid pressure loss. As with most common power steering issues to have repaired, you’ll know you possibly have a steering pump problem when you hear odd noises while steering.
It’s best to have a regular, yearly maintenance schedule with a trusted mechanic so you can catch all of these issues early and avoid steering problems while on the road.