With the help of power steering, you can easily maneuver your car around corners and navigate through traffic. Without it, you will be using your strength to turn your vehicle’s wheels in the right direction, a task that can be particularly challenging, especially with the weight of today’s’ cars. This makes power steering a vital component of your vehicle function.
How Your Power Steering Works
Even though your power steering system is important, it is not significantly complex. There is a pump to maintain pressure and fluid used to control the motion of the pistons and the valves. The hydraulics will take the pressure off of the gears and do most of the work for you when you turn the steering wheel.
Signs That Your Power Steering is About to Fail
It is crucial to know the signs of a power steering failure so that you can avoid an accident and any other possible problems it could cause when on the road. Signs that failure is soon to come include:
- You hear whining or squealing – Hearing high-pitched noises when you are turning your wheel could be a sign that your steering fluid is low. You can add fluid but will need to take it to an auto repair shop to check for possible leaks.
- The wheel becomes difficult to turn – Low power steering fluid, as well as damage to the power steering belt, can result in difficulty turning the wheel.
- Your steering wheel vibrates while idling – Another symptom that your power steering needs repair is violent vibrations when the steering is not in use. This can be an indication that the belt has become damaged or is loose.
What to do When Your Power Steering Goes Out
If your power steering goes out when you are driving, it is best to get to the side of the road to safety. Turn on your hazards and apply your brakes slowly to maintain control of the vehicle and guide it off of the road. Remember you will need to turn the wheel hard to get the tires to respond. Once on the roadside, start by turning the engine off and on again to see if the steering responds and you can safely drive it to a shop. If you suspect that your power steering has gone out because it has lost fluid, you can add more fluid, and this should restore your steering enough to get it to an auto repair shop to determine the cause for the fluid loss.
If your car is older, or you have been hearing some loud groaning noises when you steer, there is a chance that your hydraulic system is failing or has given out and will need to be repaired by a mechanic.
How to Prevent Your Power Steering From Going Out
The best way from preventing your power steering form going out is to keep your system well maintained. Make sure that the fluid is regularly checked and changed as needed. Also, watch for any leaks which will result in small puddles of pink or amber liquid. Be aware of the signs of a possible power steering failure and get your vehicle into the shop to be checked as soon as a problem is detected.