Power steering lowers the effort needed by drivers to steer and control their cars, which improves the driving experience. Most cars still use a hydraulic power steering system (HPS) to create the force necessary to move the wheels. However, manufacturers are starting to build cars using an electric power steering system (EPS). When problems arise in the hydraulic power steering system they can most often be attributed to faults in the fluid or pump, but sometimes belts or other factors are to blame.
At Christian Brothers Automotive Woodway, we have a solid record of expertise when it comes to handling the power steering system. Today, some of our local Woodway, TX technicians are drawing up the top 5 causes of hydraulic power steering system damage and how you can detect it.
One of the most critical elements of the whole system is the power steering fluid. Contamination of the fluid can happen when the pumps fail, hoses deteriorate or any outside moisture enters the fluid. Such problems all result in contamination of the fluid, likely causing small openings to plug up the steering system, an increase in friction, or even interference with the fluid’s hydraulic characteristics. Contamination may lead to the failure of a power steering component.
In addition to contamination, a low power steering fluid level reduces the amount of hydraulic fluid pressure the pump can create. This also makes the pump work much harder, consequently wearing it out much faster. In addition, fluid is also used as a lubricant and coolant. If the components are lubricated or cooled improperly, the power steering system can be jeopardized. Failing to replace the fluid on time makes the wheel increasingly difficult to turn until it gives out altogether.
A belt connected to the crankshaft of the engine usually energizes the power steering pump. When belts become worn, they can slip. There’s no way you’ll miss a belt slip or snap. Broken power steering belts will reduce your steering ability as soon as it fails. This is due to the inability of the belt to power the pump.
Power steering systems don’t function without the fluid. Damaged hoses and old, degraded seals are the biggest reasons for power steering leaks. An inadequate amount of fluid can cause the pump to wear out very quickly or even overheat. If this happens the pump is rendered useless and must be entirely replaced.
A Worn Out Pump
The aforementioned symptoms also lead to the pump being worn out. After a pump is worn, the car may become even more problematic if you try to drive. As your pump ages, you’ll start to hear pump noise and the force you need to steer increases. It’s always better to get the pump fixed sooner rather than later.
Electronic Power Steering Maintenance
The EPS system takes advantage of an electric motor, so no fluid is required! This decreases the amount of routine maintenance this system needs. However, there’s still plenty of ways to damage your EPS. For example, it’s not advised to drive over bumpy or damaged roads at high speeds. Hard bumps and vibrations can cause damage to the steering rack.
You should also check to make sure the rubber protective coverings are still in good condition. If water, dust and dirt get into the steering wheel arch, it can cause rusting and other problems for the EPS system.
Local power steering experts in Woodway, TX
At Christian Brothers Automotive Woodway, most of our services are backed by the 2-year/24,000-mile Nice Difference warranty! This guarantees you the best of both auto repair quality and customer service in Texas. Give Christian Brothers Automotive in Woodway, TX a call today to schedule your power steering maintenance, and see the nice difference.