Common Types of Power Steering Problems

Power steering problems may not leave you completely stranded. However, they can be frustrating and at their worst, they can be downright dangerous. Have you experienced driving, then a few miles down the road, your engine drive belt snapped? Such kind of situation is terrifying and you’ll get the same feeling when you suddenly lose control over your power steering.

Knowing how to diagnose engine problems is one thing, but identifying power steering issues is a different turf. After all, there are different reasons why they occur. In this article, we are going to talk about the most common ones. We will help you diagnose the problem, letting you know when you should bring your vehicle to an auto repair shop.

Problem 1: Unresponsive and Rigid Electric Steering

One of the power steering problems is not directly related to low fluid. It is possible that the issue is non-hydraulic and it involves the electrical components. If you notice the steering becoming too stiff, then the electric assist mechanism won’t respond.

What You Should Do:

It would be useful to have a code reader because it will point you towards the right direction. If you know that your power steering has an electrical issue but you do not have a scanning device, it may take you a while to locate the root of the problem. What you have to do is inspect the fuse box, then look for obvious signs of problems with the wires and connections. You should also check the voltage in your battery.

Problem 2: Hydraulic Power Loss (Lack of Power Steering Assist)

Does it feel like the steering wheel is stuck in quicksand? Does it take a significant amount of strength to make a routine turn? If so, then it is likely that you’re starting to lose the power of the hydraulic assist. When your vehicle is cold, do not check the fluid level. Make sure you run it for a few minutes first. This way, you will identify the accurate amount of fluid in your power steering system.

What You Should Do:

Whenever the power steering is malfunctioning, one of the best things to do is inspect the power steering fluid reservoir. If you notice that the level is indeed low, then you have to conduct some investigation to determine the reason behind this. Some of the possible causes of low power steering fluid include defective components, cracks in the hydraulic lines, or other damages.

Problem 3: Squealing or Grinding Noise During Turns

Squealing noises from your car do not necessarily spell doom for the steering system of your vehicle. However, it can be an indication of imminent issues that will surface soon. Like other unexpected noises, grinding and squealing power steering is usually related to the belt drive.

What You Should Do:

You must inspect our power steering pump pulley thoroughly. However, it is always best to have an expert car mechanic look at it. After all, you need to safely jack your vehicle up and turn the wheel while inspecting the power steering belt—it takes two people to perform this examination. If the belt is slipping, it has to be adjusted or tightened accordingly. Make sure that your vehicle is shut off before you perform any work on the power steering belt.

Problem 4: Fluid Leak from the Power Steering

Leaks can seriously compromise the efficiency and safety of your vehicle’s power steering system. It can be difficult to distinguish whether you have a regular oil leak or power steering fluid leak. However, an expert car mechanic can identify the unique odor. So, it is best to bring your vehicle to an auto repair shop.

What You Should Do:

Generally, worn-out or cracked pump hoses lead to power steering fluid leaks. So, you should carefully inspect the hose clamps and other connections. It is also possible that the pump itself is the culprit behind the leaking fluid. If you are in doubt, consult a professional car mechanic.

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