Steering Fluid Issues May Trigger Driving, Handling Problems

Published on October 04, 2019 08:00 AM in Maintenance
Steering Fluid Issues May Trigger Driving, Handling Problems

You're not navigating that winding road without power steering.

Virtually every modern vehicle features the technology. Far from a creature comfort, power steering is a vital component. And if yours is moaning and groaning when you're making turns, it's time to visit your local service center. 

Simply put, the power steering system helps the driver turn the wheel at low speeds. Modern vehicles use wider and heavier tires than those of previous generations, and drivers need a little extra help.

“Power-assisted steering is a safety and drivability function of your vehicle. Without it, the steering effort becomes much more difficult, to the point that it is almost impossible to steer the vehicle without it,” said Jefferson Bryant of NAPA Auto Parts.

Over time, bits of plastic and rubber inside the system wear down. Power steering fluid collects these contaminants and recycles them through the system. Power steering systems have no filter, so periodically cleaning is particularly important.

“Maintaining the function of your power steering system is critical for daily use. Over time, contaminants and wear will reduce the efficiency of your power steering pump,” Bryant said. “Eventually, this will cause lower internal hydraulic pressure and leaks. Symptoms of these issues include harder steering, pump groan, and in really bad cases, a steering wheel that turns itself due to a plugged or stuck valve.”

Your vehicle manufacturer offers recommendations for how often your specific model needs a power steering fluid service.

  • Power steering fluid is a vital fluid that helps the driver control an automobile.
  • It is susceptible to breaking down over time.
  • Your vehicle handbook will let you know if and when a power steering fluid exchange is required.
  • A power steering fluid exchange replaces old fluid with fresh power steering fluid.