It’s the start of the new month and time to focus on another service. This month we will take a look at the power steering fluid service. We will start by answering a few common questions about getting a power steering fluid service.
How does my Power Steering System work?
Hydraulic Power Steering Operation.
On vehicles equipped Hydraulic Power Steering the engine drives a pump that supplies pressurizes fluid to a steering rack or box. Valves in the steering rack or box open when the driver turns the wheel in either direction. This allows the pressurized oil to enter a cylinder forcing a piston to aid in steering the vehicle in the proper direction. As soon as the driver stops turning the wheel, the valve shuts and the hydraulic pressure is released.
Electric Power Steering Operation.
On vehicles equipped Electric Power Steering sensors in the rack or steering column monitor torque and position of the steering wheel. Whenever the driver turns the wheel in either direction data is sent from these sensors to a computer module This data is processed by the computer module and outputted to an electric motor that assists in steering the car. Electric Power Steering systems don’t have any fluid to service and don’t require any preventative maintenance, but they do have mechanical parts and electronics that can wear out and malfunction over time.
NOTE: The power steering system only assists in steering your vehicle. No matter what type of power steering system your vehicle is equipped with there is still a mechanical connection between your steering wheel and the front wheels of your vehicle. So if the power steering system fails, you can still steer your vehicle but the steering effort will become much heavier with no power assist. Just as a side note, if your engine stalls then your power steering system will no longer function and you will have to steer to a stop without any power assist.
How often do I need a Power Steering Fluid Service?
A power steering service is generally recommended every 2 years or 30,000 miles (48,000 km).
Always refer to service information or the owners manual for specific fluid and service recommendations for vehicle being serviced.
Why do I need a Power Steering Fluid Service?
This will help prevent hydraulic power steering problems and save you from costly repair bills. Hydraulic power steering systems use pressurized power steering fluid reduce the effort required to steer your vehicle. Over time, heat generated by the power steering pump, moisture and contaminants within the system will eventually cause the fluid to break down. Once it becomes contaminated it can cause hydraulic problems and premature wear. These problems can be very costly to diagnose and repair. The fluid is the cheapest part of your power steering system. A Power Steering Fluid Service can help to prolong the life of other, more expensive power steering components such as the power steering pump, lines and rack.
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What is a Power Steering Fluid Service?
When a power steering fluid service is performed up to 90% of the contaminated fluid within the power steering system is removed. It is replaced with fresh new fluid and any contaminates are flushed out of the system.
What can happen if I don’t get a Power Steering Fluid Service?
Neglecting your power steering can cause many issues.
- A loss of steering assist
- Noise and increased steering effort
- Harden seals and leakage
- Sluggish steering on cold mornings
- Shortened power steering pump life
- Shortened Steering gear life
- Premature power steering hydraulic component wear leading to costly repairs
Due to the wide range of vehicles makes and models, this is general information and should not be taken as specific to any vehicle. Please consult manufacturer specifications for the correct specifications and repair procedures for your vehicle. This information is meant to be used as a guideline only.