The power steering system in your car helps you turn the steering wheel and allows you to steer with much less effort. By utilizing a combination of power steering fluid and mechanics, power steering amplifies the rotations of the steering wheel and allows you to make larger movements with less relative movement of the steering wheel. This is especially useful when traveling at low speeds and when parking.
In traditional power steering systems, power steering fluid, also known as hydraulic fluid, is utilized to ease the movement of the steering gear. This fluid is highly pressurized and as a result adds the necessary momentum required to turn effortlessly at low speeds or while parking.
Many modern power steering systems now rely on an electronic system instead. An electric motor and a small computer replaces the power steering pump and lines present in the traditional system to power the steering gear. These electric systems have been shown to be much more reliable, however, they will still require maintenance from time to time.
Signs of a bad power steering system
- Squealing noise while turning
- Hard time turning in one or both directions
- Grinding noise
- Low-pitched noise from power steering pump
- Low power steering fluid
- Power steering fluid leak
- Hard spots when turning the steering wheel
Power steering maintenance
Issues with power steering can arise from many different sources, including the power steering fluid itself. It is important to address these issues before they start causing more severe problems down the line. Take your vehicle to be inspected by a car care professional if you notice any of the above signs.