Top 5 Things to Do to Keep Your Car’s Power Steering in Good Shape

jeep power steering

The power steering system is one of the greatest advancements in automotive technology.

Power steering allows users to steer heavy vehicles with greater ease and comfort. Not to mention, it greatly improves the car's responsiveness, making it safer on the road. 

The thing is, some car owners don’t bother to check on the condition of the power steering system until they experience difficulties in maneuvering. And by that time, it's too late. You're probably already experiencing other issues such as drifting, uneven tyre wear, and more.

Fortunately, it’s easy to keep your car’s power steering in good condition. Here are some important things to remember for a safe driving experience:

Keep an Eye on Power Steering Fluid Levels

Sometimes, you’ll also hear the above-mentioned groaning or whining sound even when the power steering pump is in good shape. If this is the case, the issue might be insufficient power steering fluid. Simply top up the fluid and make sure that it doesn’t exceed the maximum level.

While you’re at it, you should also check whether the fluid is contaminated. Clean power steering fluid is usually red or pink in colour (sometimes clear, depending on the brand). If it has turned into a rusty or brownish shade, or if you can see debris floating in the liquid, then it’s time for a flush.

Flushing and bleeding the power steering fluid can be done at the same time as the oil change, so it’s easier to keep track. However, make sure to still check the fluid from time to time to make sure that it’s still in good condition. Dirty power steering fluid can affect steering performance, not to mention cause premature damage to the system’s components.

Change the Hydraulic Pump

If you still hear strange sounds when turning the wheel, it's possible that you may be looking at a bigger issue.

The most important part of the power steering system is the hydraulic pump, which delivers the power steering fluid to all the components.

If this pump fails, the system will not receive proper lubrication, resulting in increased friction and heat. If the issue is not resolved quickly, you'll be looking at bigger, costlier damage to not only the power steering, but the engine as well.

If you hear a groaning or whining sound when turning the wheel, have the vehicle examined immediately. These sounds are often the sign of a failed power steering pump.

And of course, make sure to purchase parts from a trusted auto-parts supplier to ensure high quality and exceptional service.

Check for Leaks

Do you find yourself replenishing your car’s power steering fluid too often?

There might be a leak somewhere that needs to be addressed.

It could be in the reservoir itself, the hoses, or somewhere in the pump. Either way, you need to find and fix the leak quickly to prevent any further damage—and to save yourself from the cost of buying bottle after bottle of power steering fluid.

One thing that may suggest a possible leak is a reddish or pinkish brown puddle of liquid under your vehicle.

You may also notice that it’s harder to turn the steering wheel. And as previously mentioned, short intervals between fluid top-ups can also be indicative of a leak.

Bring your car to a mechanic so that they can confirm the issue and replace the necessary parts.

Change the Filter Annually

You might not be aware, but just like the engine and air conditioning, your car’s power steering system also has a filter. This prevents contaminants from getting into the parts and causing problems such as:

  • reduced steering effectiveness

  • hardened seals, leading to premature wear and tear

  • damaged rack and pinion

The latter one is something that you should definitely avoid, since it’s quite costly to repair or replace these parts. 

Do note that most vehicles can last for about a year or longer before you have to replace the power steering fluid filter. However, check the owner’s manual to verify. Your car’s manufacturer will usually have a recommended schedule for optimum performance.

Inspect the Hoses

Your car’s power steering system has two hoses: one that delivers the fluid to the rack and pinion, and one that returns the fluid to the reservoir. These are made from rubber, which undergoes natural wear and tear over time.

Collisions, extreme temperatures, and other external factors can speed up this wear and tear, and also cause issues such as cracks and punctures. Make sure to replace damaged power steering hoses to ensure the proper distribution of the fluid and maintain peak function.

Your car’s power steering system might not get enough attention like other components—like the engine or the brakes, for instance—but it’s definitely a big part of driving comfort and performance.

Keep these things in mind to keep the power steering in good shape and ensure your safety and convenience for years to come. 

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