Auto Parts: Buying Guides, Explanations and Money-Saving Tips

Is Your Power Steering Warning You of a Problem?

by Aapo Perala

Car manufacturers want to make it as easy as possible for a driver to operate their vehicle and have, over the years, introduced a variety of different components with this in mind. However, perhaps the most revolutionary device that made it really easy for anyone to manoeuvre a heavy car was the power-assisted steering. When everything is working properly, the task of steering is so easy, but if some of the component parts start to wear out, there will be plenty to moan about. If you think that your system is playing up, what are the symptoms, and what should you do?

Making It Easy

In the old days, the force exerted on the steering wheel would represent the force exerted on each of the road wheels. In a very slow speed situation, you would, therefore, need to have a great deal of strength to make any progress. Now, however, a sensor fitted to the steering wheel takes over. This sensor will instruct the power steering pump to provide the appropriate amount of high-pressure fluid to the steering rack, which will turn the road wheel with ease.

How It Works

In order for the power steering pump to work in the first place, however, it has to be connected to the engine crankshaft through a pulley and belt system. Nevertheless, over time, the pump itself will begin to degrade, and the bearings may start to fail. The driving belt may also start to slip, and all of these issues can start to spell trouble.

Signs of Trouble

You look that something is wrong if you can hear a strange noise from the engine compartment. For example, when you turn the steering wheel in the cabin, you may notice a wailing or moaning sound. This is coming from within the power steering pump, and you may need to replace the bearings or the pump itself. If you hear a squealing or screeching noise, then this indicates that the belt is slipping around its pulley and will need to be repaired or replaced. However, if the belt appears to be in good condition and functioning correctly, then that strange whining sound may be associated with low fluid levels or air within the fluid. Check to see if the fluid is still in good condition and bleed the system as needed to get rid of unwanted air.

Taking Action

You should take action right away if you suspect issues with your power steering. In the worst-case scenario, the pump itself could seize, jam the steering and cause other components to fail.

Contact a supplier of power steering parts for more information.