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Main Street Mechanic, Established 2005

5 Common Problems with Power Steering Systems

Power steering is a modern invention that many of us now take for granted! This hydraulic system uses power steering fluid to build pressure, making it easier for you to turn the wheel. Long gone are the days of cranking the wheel and feeling sore muscles just from trying to turn left.

As wonderful as power steering is, it can break down – just like any other system in your car. When you start experiencing problems with your power steering, it’s time to take a trip to the mechanic. A good engine belt, power steering pump, clear passageways, and the proper amount of clean power steering fluid are all necessary for a power steering system to run efficiently.

A malfunctioning power steering pump can often be recognized with a loud screeching noise that can be easily detected by the driver. Shaking or screeching when you make a turn may indicate a worn power steering belt. If your steering wheel becomes especially hard to turn, low power steering fluid levels may be the culprit. Leaks in your power steering system can also wreak havoc and lead to any of the above warning signs.

Power steering is definitely one vehicle issue that you don’t want to attempt a DIY fix. Power steering is a complicated system within your vehicle. Our advanced diagnostics equipment can pinpoint exactly what is wrong with the system and what we need to do to fix it. Below is an overview of the 5 most common power steering issues and various ways we can help get it repaired.

Leaking Power Steering Fluid

The integrity of your power steering system relies on its ability to build pressure. One way it accomplishes this is through the use of a special fluid that transfers the pressure to change the direction of your wheel. If the fluid is leaking and/or there is a leak somewhere in the system, turning sharp corners will become near impossible. You may also hear a grinding noise when you try to turn. If you run out of fluid entirely, you may burn out the power steering pump. This is just one of the many reasons why it’s critical to take your car to the mechanic as soon as you start experiencing any troubles with your power steering, even if it’s just hearing weird noises when you turn.

Worn Out Hose

All components of your vehicle will wear down over time. It’s not uncommon for hoses throughout the vehicle – including those included in the power steering system – to become hardened and begin to peel or crack. Over time, these peels can become worn out into holes that leak power fluid. If you’re noticing leaks

Loose Hose Couplings

Even if your hose is in tip-top shape, the couplings that connect tubes together tend to get loose over time. Sudden bumps, vibrations of driving, or even imbalance in the pressure system itself can weaken these important connections. Loose couplings can have a significant affect on your power steering, especially if those loose connections allow for your power steering fluid to leak out.

Slipped Driver Belt

Your power steering pump uses a drive belt when your car is changing direction. It is not uncommon for the drive belt to slip off the power steering pump, preventing your car from being able to move from left to right. The belt is what lets your power steering pump know which way to go and, without it, it doesn’t know which direction it should be applying pressure to. If you’re having problems turning or changing directions with your steering wheel, a slipped driver belt may be the culprit.

Worn Out Steering Pump

Just like every other component in your vehicle, your power steering pump can wear down over time. It uses seals and internal parts that can break down, resulting in loss of fluid pressure. Squealing sounds and loss of steering ease are often signals that the steering pump needs to be repaired or replaced.

Just as with most issues related to vehicle systems, regular maintenance can help to prevent power steering failure and catch early signs of power steering issues before they turn into much bigger and more expensive problems. Routine inspections and consistent maintenance help keep your car healthy and performing at its best for the long haul.

If you are experiencing any troubles with your power steering system, give Main Street Mechanic a call! Our friendly ASE-Certified Technicians can get you taken care of right away. We have same day appointments available and can often get you in and out in a day’s time! We also offer a free customer shuttle to take you to home/work and back to the shop again once your car is ready. Even if you’re not yet experiencing vehicle issues, remember to bring your car in for routine inspections and maintenance needs. We here at Main Street Mechanic are more than happy to help you solve any problems your vehicle is having and answer any questions you may have!

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