If you suddenly notice that it’s very difficult to turn the steering wheel, it could be a red flag that your power steering is in trouble. While this might not mean you need expensive repairs, any time the power steering goes out it’s important to have the issue diagnosed. Power steering that is no longer working can become a safety threat aside from just being an inconvenience. Read on to learn more about power steering and what to do if yours goes out.
Power Steering Background
Originally, wheels were linked to a hydraulic system that made it much easier to maneuver a vehicle. Without this system, turning corners would be difficult if not impossible. Today, power steering is used in almost every car and is a simple system comprised of a few components. This system includes a pump to help maintain hydraulic pressure along with power steering fluid that controls the movement of the pistons and valves. This allows you to turn the steering wheel with little to no effort. The hydraulics take the pressure off the gears and do all the work for you as you drive.
What to do When Your Power Steering Fails
You’ll definitely notice if there’s an issue with the power steering system. Just turning the wheel will be a lot more difficult and you’ll need to use a lot more physical force. Driving the car could almost feel impossible. In many instances, the hydraulic system has simply run out of power steering fluid whether it’s from a leak or failure to check current fluid levels. Thankfully, most fluid level issues are an easy fix. The fluid may also be contaminated with particles of the hydraulic system that can be released as it begins to corrode.
With regular maintenance and fluid changes, you can preserve the operation of your power steering system. Regular check-ups can help you pinpoint fluid leaks before they get out of control. If your car has been sitting for a long time and you suddenly notice a pink or amber-colored liquid on the ground, it’s likely the power steering fluid. If you are having issues with the steering pump, you should take your vehicle to a professional mechanic right away. A common red flag is if you start noticing a loud groaning sound whenever you steer.
Power Steering Problems While Driving
If your power steering is out while driving, don’t panic. Alert other drivers that you are having a problem by honking the horn and turning on your hazard lights. Move your vehicle to the shoulder of the road and brake slowly. If you slam on your brakes, it could cause a serious problem since you no longer have total control over your steering system. Once the vehicle is completely stopped, turn your engine off, then turn it on again. If your steering wheel seems to be working better, take your car to a mechanic immediately. If you cannot turn easily, call to get your vehicle towed. With regular fluid changes and maintenance, you can ensure that your power steering is working as it should.
For all your vehicle’s maintenance and repair needs, call Fairfax Auto Repair in Fairfax, VA at 703-822-5911 and schedule an appointment today!