Virginia Auto Service

4 Common Power Steering Problems to Watch Out For

common power steering problems
Make sure you know these warning signs to keep your power steering operating smoothly.

The job of the power steering unit in your car is to make steering easier and the various components work together to achieve this goal.  The power steering unit is a hydraulic system that uses the build-up of pressure to push the wheels in the direction indicated by the steering wheel.  If one of the components isn’t working properly, the pressure may not be able to build-up properly instantly making the car much more difficult to steer.   But loss of pressure isn’t the only power steering problem your car can experience.  Here are the most common power steering problems so you know when it is time to see your repair technician.

  1. A Leak in the Power Steering Unit

A leak within the power steering unit is the most common power steering problem.  There are some easy to recognize signs that you have a power steering fluid leak.  The first is that you will see fluid on the ground on the driver’s side of the car after it has been parked there for awhile, similar to what you would see with an oil leak.  Another sure sign that you have a leak is a car that makes a grinding noise whenever it is turned.  This indicates there is a serious problem with the level of power steering fluid that must be addressed before the car is driven.  Failing to do so can cause serious damage.

  1. A Drive Belt that is Slipping, Worn, or Loose

The second most common power steering problem is a slipping, worn, or loose drive belt.  If you hear a loud screeching noise whenever you make a sharp turn, there is a very good chance your drive belt is slipping.  In newer cars, this may be a problem with the serpentine belt, which is used instead of a drive belt.  Get this problem fixed as soon as possible to avoid damage.

  1. A Cracked, Peeling, or Worn Hose

One of the most common sources of power steering fluid leaks is damaged and worn-out hoses.  The hoses convey the power steering fluid throughout the system.  Over time, they can become cracked or damaged, begin to peel, or simply wear out.  If you are driving and it suddenly becomes very difficult to steer, there is a good chance a busted hose is to blame.  The best way to avoid a leak is to routinely inspect your power steering hoses, especially once your car has been in use for several years.

  1. The Hose Coupling is Creeping Off

Over time, the coupling on the hose that carries the power steering fluid throughout the unit can begin to creep off.  You should be able to identify this problem with a simple visual inspection.  If the coupling creeps all the way off, you will lose power steering fluid and experience the problems above.  If the coupling seems to be creeping, take it in and have the tech at your repair shop check it out.