Power Steering problems can be surprisingly frustrating. Like many luxuries in life, once you get used to them being there, they start to feel more like requirements than luxuries. If you’ve ever suddenly lost power steering in your vehicle, then you know exactly what we’re talking about.
Despite the new advances, the majority of the vehicles on the road today still share a similar hydraulic powers steering system. Like any system in your vehicle, the first step to fixing its problems is understanding how it is supposed to work so you can see what is going wrong.
Your vehicle’s power steering system needs a few different components to work properly:
- A good engine belt
- A health power steering pump
- Clear passageways
- The proper level of clean power steering fluid
- No leaks either in or out of the system
The power steering pump directs fluid from the reservoir into the steering gear, which applies the correct amount of pressure to turn the wheels smoothly. There are several symptoms of a bad or failing power steering pump, so if you notice the following, have the pump inspected by a professional mechanic as soon as possible:
1. Whining noise while turning the wheel
If you hear a whining noise while turning the wheel of your vehicle, something is wrong with your power steering system. It could be a leak in the power steering pump or the fluid level could be low. If the fluid level is left this way for too long it can damage the whole power steering system. Either way, the power steering pump needs to be looked at and potentially replaced by a professional.
2. Steering wheel slow to respond
While turning a corner, if your steering feels slow to respond to the steering wheel inputs you are making, chances are your power steering pump is failing. Along with this, you may also hear a whining noise. If you notice these two symptoms together, contact your technician to have your power steering pump replaced.
3. Stiff steering wheel
Not only can your steering wheel be slow to respond, it can also become stiff if the power steering is failing. If your steering wheel starts to feel stiff, your power steering pump may be going bad.
4. Squealing noises when the vehicle starts
While whining noises are usually heard when you turn the vehicle, squealing noises come when the vehicle first starts. They can happen when you make sharp turns as well, but they are more likely to happen for a minute as you start your car. The squealing noise will come from the hood of your vehicle, and is a sign your power steering pump may be going bad and causing the belt to slip.
5. Groaning noises
Groaning noises are the worst noises your power steering pump can make. They will get worse and worse as your power steering pump continues to fail. If the power steering system fails from lack of fluid it can damage the whole system including the steering rack and lines, and require complete replacement.
As soon as you notice unusual noises coming from your vehicle, the steering is slow to respond or feels stiff, have your power steering pump inspected, and if needed replaced.