Power Steering Pump
Power steering allows you to steer your vehicle with less effort, particularly at low speeds. A power steering system works primarily by utilizing a power steering pump to send hydraulic fluid to other parts of the system. When the power steering pump fails, you will notice that it is harder to turn the steering wheel and complete turns in general.
What parts make up a power steering system?
The traditional type of power steering system is the hydraulic power steering system, which is comprised of:
- Power steering pump – The power steering pump is a hydraulic pump that is responsible for distributing hydraulic fluid to the rest of the system. It is located towards the front of the engine and is controlled by the drive belt in most cases. When the pump turns, fluid is pressurized and released into a high-pressure line that delivers the fluid to the steering gear. The pump also contains an internal pressure release valve to control any excess pressure within the system.
- Steering gear – There are two kinds of steering gears: recirculating ball and rack-and-pinion assemblies. Rack-and-pinion steering gears are most common in regular vehicles, while recirculating ball steering gears are common in utility vehicles and trucks. The steering gear connects the steering column to the steering linkage. As you turn your steering wheel, the motion is transferred to the steering gear which then allows the steering linkage to turn the wheels in a particular direction.
- Fluid lines – a power steering system contains three kinds of fluid lines: high-pressure, low-pressure, and suction lines. The high-pressure line is used to send hydraulic fluid to the steering gear from the pump, while the low-pressure line collects the remaining fluid from the steering gear and returns it to the pump. The suction line acts as an additional drainage point in some systems.
- Fluid reservoir – The fluid reservoir stores the hydraulic fluid that is delivered by the power steering pump. It is either mounted directly on the power steering pump or may be mounted elsewhere with a feed tube connected to the pump.
Signs of a bad power steering pump
- No power steering – If you lose your power steering ability, you will notice that the steering wheel requires more effort to turn and completing turns is more difficult. This is likely due to a failure in your power steering pump.
- Groaning noise – a groaning noise coming from the power steering pump is common when it starts to go bad. You can identify that the noise coming from the power steering pump if you notice that it gets louder as you increase your engine’s RPM and when you turn the steering wheel.
- Fluid leaks – Fluid leaks can develop from any of the lines or the power steering pump itself. Your power steering performance will noticeably drop since the system is less effective in delivering the hydraulic fluid. You can identify a hydraulic fluid leak by a dark red or brown puddle that develops beneath your vehicle.
Power steering pump maintenance
When issues arise with your power steering pump, the solution may be as simple as adding more hydraulic fluid or may go as far as replacing the pump altogether. Whatever the case may be, it is important to get your vehicle to a mechanic to have the issue resolved and get your power steering back on track.
The best way to book power steering pump maintenance is by booking through CarAdvise. CarAdvise makes scheduling an appointment online simple and guarantees that you’ll pay a lower price than the shop price!