The Common Causes of Power Steering Failure

Posted on: 3 April 2018

It is important for every motorist to know what can go wrong with the power steering system so that the car owner can take steps to reduce the likelihood that those factors will compromise the power steering system of his or her car. This article discusses some of the common issues which can result in power steering failure.

Fluid Loss

Most vehicles currently have power steering systems that rely on hydraulic power to function. Such vehicles can develop power steering problems in case the hydraulic fluid upon which the system depends reduces so much that not enough pressure can be generated to impose a force on the steering system. Fluid loss can be sudden, such as when you drive over road debris which punctures a hose. Fluid loss can also be gradual, such as what happens when the seals of the system leak and allow the fluid to drain out slowly. Motorists should always check underneath their vehicles after parking for extended durations, such as overnight. Have a mechanic check the system in case you suspect that power steering fluid is leaking.

Pump Failure

The power steering system can also fail in case the hydraulic pump attached to the system develops a defect. Pump failure can make it impossible for the hydraulic fluid to be pressurised in order to cause the steering system to behave in a desired way. It is therefore crucial for you to watch out for any warning signs which may suggest that the power steering pump is failing. For example, you may hear a whining sound as you negotiate corners. Intermittent difficulties in turning the wheel can also alert you to possible defects in the pump.

Loss of Power

The power steering system requires electrical power to function. For instance, the sensors which detect any force which you exert on the steering wheel need power from the battery of your car. The loss of power can therefore cause the power steering system to stop working. The most common way through which power can be lost is when the engine stalls as you are driving. Power can also be lost to the steering system alone due to a blown fuse or damaged wiring. Trained technicians can pinpoint the cause of the power loss and fix it.

Cars with electric or hydraulic power steering systems may have different causes of power steering failure. Take your car to an experienced technician who will conduct a thorough inspection before diagnosing the problem. Remember to make power steering service part of your routine car maintenance so that you can catch any problems before they worsen and cause a failure.