Power Steering Repairs and Service
Power steering is standard. The heart of any power steering system is its pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid that provides assist for steering.
Most pumps are driven by a belt that is run by the engine – a few are electrically powered. A high-pressure hose passes fluid from the pump to the steering gear. A low-pressure hose returns the fluid back to the pump.
These hoses can develop leaks, so it is a good idea to inspect them at every oil change. Low fluid can damage the power steering pump.
That is why the fluid level is on the checklist for a full-service oil change. The fluid needs to be compatible with the hoses and seals, so check your owners’ manual for the right type.
The fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the power steering system. It breaks down as the years go by and collects unwanted moisture, so it needs to be replaced from time to time. Many manufacturers specify power steering service intervals.
Unfortunately, this important service is sometimes left off the maintenance schedule for many of us in Brisbane. So, when in doubt, every 25,000 kms/40,000 km or two years is a good fallback.
Power Steering Warning Signs
Here are some warning signs of trouble with your power steering:
- It’s harder to turn the wheel
- there’s erratic power assist,
- you hear loud whining coming from the pump
- you have to top-off the fluid frequently
- you hear squealing belts.
Remember to never hold the steering wheel to the far right or left for more than a few seconds at a time. That will wear out your power steering pump real fast.
Other steering components can be bent or damaged from wear or hard knocks. Ball-joint, idler-arm, steering gear, steering knuckle and tie rod to name a few.
Warning signs here are steering play, wandering, uneven tire wear, and off-center steering wheel. An annual alignment check will reveal bent or damaged steering components.