Your car’s power steering system plays a crucial role in keeping you and all of your passengers safe as you drive. If any trouble develops in the system, you must address the issue immediately to avoid potential harm to yourself, your passengers, or other vehicles. Here is a look at this important topic.

The Warning Signs

Watch carefully for any signs that the steering system is not working as it should. One of the most common signs is difficulty turning the wheel. With today’s power steering systems, the wheel should turn easily. Another sign to watch out for is grinding or screeching noises when you make a turn.

Vibrations and Looseness

A steering wheel that vibrates is definitely a sign of trouble. In some cases, the problem is related to poor wheel alignment, but another possibility is a power steering issue. Also, a steering wheel that feels loose as your drive and make turns is a sign of power steering problems. If the vehicle tries to wander to one side as you drive, this a warning sign as well.

Hesitation and Fluid Discoloration

A wheel that hesitates when you attempt to make a turn or that is slow to respond when you move it is an obvious cause for concern. If you notice that your power steering fluid is discolored or foaming when you check the fluid level, this also signals that you may have trouble with your power steering system.

The Causes of Trouble 

A wide range of issues can cause problems with your steering system. One frequently seen issue is a low level of power steering fluid. The steering system needs an adequate level of fluid to function properly and difficulties arise when the fluid level is low.

Leaks

The fluid level often gets too low because of leaks in the system. Your steering system has two main hose lines that carry fluid to other components in the system: a high-pressure line and a low-pressure line. When either of these hoses develops a leak, the fluid level is going to fall below normal.

Bad Pump

A vital component of the power steering system is the power steering pump, which ensures that you are able to turn the wheel smoothly. Pumps wear out over time, however, and you must replace them when they are no longer functional. Warning signs of a bad pump include noises that occur when you turn and a wheel that is slow to respond.

Bad Belt

Your vehicle has a long belt called a drive belt or serpentine belt, that connects to a number of important parts of your car, including the pump. If the drive belt is loose or if it tears, the pump won’t operate properly. A loose or torn drive belt makes it impossible for the power steering to work, so, if this problem occurs, you must tighten or replace the belt.

Clogs

Another possible cause of power steering issues is a clog in the hoses connected to the system. Clogs typically occur when components of the system wear out or the power steering fluid is dirty or contaminated.

Air

When an excessive amount of air gets into the steering system, it can have a negative impact on the functionality of your power steering. Air typically gets into the system through leaks in the hoses, such as the low-pressure line.

As a vehicle owner, it’s important that you know the warning signs and causes of power steering issues. When trouble occurs, you should address the issue without delay. At DeMers Automotive, we can solve all of your power steering problems and get you back on the road quickly. Contact us for any assistance or for more information.