Before power steering came along, you couldn’t breeze around a corner with one hand on the wheel and the other holding a cup of coffee. Driving is much easier with power steering than it was in the days of manual steering. The heart of the power steering system is the power steering pump, and it can die. At Heath’s Auto Service, we want you to know these four signs your power steering pump is on the road to failure, and the sooner you address the issue the better. Immediate action avoids expensive automotive repairs.
1. Problems With Your Steering Wheel’s Response
You know exactly how far you have to turn your steering wheel to go right or left. If you notice you have to turn the wheel more than usual on the same turns, you might have a problem with your steering wheel pump. The pump circulates your car, truck, or SUV’s power steering fluid to create the hydraulic pressure needed to make your steering easy. Low fluid also makes steering responses wonky.
2. You Hear Noises When You Turn
Another sign of low power steering fluid is noises when you turn your steering wheel. Noise can also indicate an issue with the power steering pump or your steering ties and rods. Usually, the noise is clicking, grinding, or groaning. No matter the sound, you shouldn’t hear it at all. If you do, it’s best to get your power steering system inspected to avoid additional, expensive damage.
3. You Start Your Car and Hear Squealing
Your power steering pump has working parts inside that can squeal if they aren’t operating properly. When you start your car, truck, or SUV, all systems fire up. You see the dashboard warning lights slowly turn off as the vehicle’s computer checks each one. Your power steering system doesn’t have a warning light, but the pump will squeal when you start your car if something’s wrong.
4. You See a Red Fluid Puddle on Your Garage Floor
Finally, if your power steering pump has a leak, or if any of the hoses connected to it are leaking, you will see a red fluid puddle on your garage floor. Dirty power steering fluid can be reddish-brown, but most power steering is red. Check your reservoir to make sure it is full the minute you see the fluid leak on your garage floor. If it is, the red fluid could also be radiator fluid or transmission oil.
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms of power steering issues, call Heath’s Auto Service to schedule an appointment today.