Have you ever driven a vehicle that didn’t have power steering?
It’s a great way to get a full upper-body workout. We tend to take our power steering systems for granted, but without them, steering your vehicle is pretty tough (if not impossible, depending on the kind of vehicle we’re talking about). If your power steering system gives out while you’re on the road, it can even be dangerous.
Just like other vital components of your vehicle, your power steering system needs regular preventative maintenance. In today’s post, we’ll discuss how to identify common problems with the power steering system, what causes them, and how to prevent them with regularly maintenance at your local BG certified automotive shop.
How to Identify Common Problems With Your Power Steering System
Typically, when you have a power steering problem, you know it. Your wheel will become much harder to turn, to the point that it may even feel as though it doesn’t work at all. With enough power (from you), it’ll turn, but driving will probably be pretty tough.
Here’s a short list of what you might experience when there’s a problem with your power steering system:
- Difficult turning
- High pitched squeal while turning
- Vibrating steering wheel
- Power steering fluid on concrete
To learn more about each of these warning signs, make sure to check out our post 4 Signs Your Power Steering System Will Fail Sooner Rather Than Later. The post covers all of the warning signs listed above and has a few helpful tips for what to do if you’re experiencing any of them.
What Causes Power Steering System Problems
When your power steering system has problems, it’s actually far more likely to be something that happens gradually, rather than your steering wheel simply ceasing to function normally in an instant.
Your power steering system is powered primarily by a hydraulic pump. This pump transmits power steering fluid to the steering system. This is what makes steering your vehicle smooth and easy, rather than incredibly difficult.
However, power steering fluid doesn’t last forever. Over time, it begins to degrade due to debris (deposits or “gunk”) and major temperature fluctuations, mostly heat related. When the power fluid begins to degrade, it can even damage the components of the hydraulic pump and connected components, such as the o-rings, seals, and hoses.
When your power steering fluid is either so contaminated that it can’t do its job properly or one of these components break, typically causing a leak, your power steering system will begin to fail—likely slowly, but possibly outright.
The solution is, as you might suspect, to replace your power steering fluid as part of your regular maintenance schedule. Check your vehicle manual to find out how often you should do this, as it can vary quite a bit from one vehicle make and model to another.
Let’s learn a bit more about maintenance for your power steering system:
Power Steering System Maintenance Made Easy
The easiest, most efficient way to maintain your power steering system is with a full Power Steering Service from a certified BG automotive shop near you. This service will ensure that your power steering system is free of accumulated deposits and checks for damage to the o-rings, hoses, and of course the hydraulic pump itself.
In addition to removing debris and keeping your power steering system working, the service utilizes products such as BG Power Clean. This product actively helps to protect your power steering system from wear, using a special blend of antioxidants and seal conditioners. This high quality synthetic blend uses ingredients not found in “off the shelf” brands of power steering fluid and is only available from BG.
If your local mechanic doesn’t use a preventative synthetic fluid, request that they do so immediately—it can substantially extend the lifespan of not only your power steering fluid, but the components within your vehicle as well.
Learn More About the Cost-Saving Benefit of Preventative Auto Maintenance
Prevention is the best cure. When you regularly maintain your vehicle, it can save you a lot of time and money in the future—and make sure that you don’t end up on the side of the road. If you’d like to learn more about preventative maintenance, we recommend some of the following posts from our blog:
- Everything You Need to Know About Maintaining Your Manual Transmission
- Everything You Need to Know About the Drive Belts in Your Vehicle
- How to Avoid the Leading Cause of Roadside Breakdowns