What Is the Main Indication of a Faulty Power Steering?

Posted on: 10 August 2022

If your steering wheel seems to play a musical accompaniment when you try to parallel park, you may be facing issues with your power steering pump. This note is actually coming from the base of the steering column, close to where it connects with the transverse rack. What does this sound signify, and what can happen if you allow the situation to get worse?

Getting Help When You Need It

Every modern-day vehicle has a hydraulic system that makes it a great deal easier to turn the front wheels of your car. Without this system, you would certainly have a tough time moving those tyres against the road surface. However, parallel parking should be a breeze with a perfectly functioning system.

How Power Steering Systems Work

Your power-assisted steering system is made up of several parts. At the centre of the operation is a pump that is driven through a belt by the engine crankshaft. This will turn a central impeller, which will rotate at high speed to generate pressure within the system. Hydraulic fluid is pushed against a piston on either side of the steering rack, which will regulate the movement of hydraulic fluid based on your intended direction of travel.

When Things Go Wrong

Sometimes, the seals and gaskets around the pump may begin to deteriorate. This can happen with age and might allow some of the power steering fluid to escape. When this happens, the pump will struggle to pressurise the system accordingly and may also overheat. As the pump works much harder than it should, some of the internal parts may fail, which will quickly lead to that tell-tale whining noise.

When It's Time to Call Your Mechanic

As soon as you hear that distinctive noise, you should schedule a visit to your mechanic. If you don't, the situation will typically worsen, and the pump may fail altogether. In fact, it might seize and you may suddenly find it very difficult to manoeuvre the vehicle. Clearly, this could be a safety issue that you'll want to avoid at all costs.

Isn't Power Steering Just a Luxury?

Some people think that a power-assisted steering system is just a modern-day convenience. After all, older vehicles did not feature this gadget, and people were able to drive them without issue. However, this is not a straightforward comparison as the systems of today are specifically designed to work with a functioning hydraulic boost, and they won't be able to do so without it. 

For more information, contact a local mechanic