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What is Power Steering Fluid?​

Power steering fluid goes through the power steering hydraulic system. The system is pressurized by the power steering pump and by way of pistons, valves, or plungers decreases the effort needed by the driver in controlling the steering wheel. The pressure drops and the power steering system loses its hydraulic pressure when the pump stops pumping.

Metal particles will contaminate the fluid as components in the steering system erode. This will cause seals in the system to leak and components to eventually fail. Checking the fluid level and changing the fluid at regular intervals recommended by the manufacturer is important for the life of the hoses, pistons, valves, seals, and the power steering pump itself.

Signs of a Power Steering Fluid Leak

  • Hearing a siren-like or whirring sound from the steering pump
  • Topping up the fluid tank as its level drops.
  • Determining that spots on the garage floor or parking spot are not simply oil leaks from the engine.

Common causes for Power Steering Fluid Leaks

Fluid can leak from numerous places in the steering system. The most common sources of leaks are the following 4 areas:

  • Power steering pump: The power steering pump is driven off the car’s engine. Pump seals can become damaged because of the contact with dirty fluid or they can become worn-out from thousands of miles of use. 
  • Power steering hoses: Another possible problem area are the lines that run from the pump to the steering rack, or gear, particularly where the high-pressure hose are connected with the metal fittings. 
  • Power steering rack or gear: The steering rack itself can lose fluid from its own seals. 
  • Power steering cooler: Some assisted steering mechanisms have coolers, which complicate the matter and bring additional plumbing and potential for leaks. These coolers are often attached in the front of the car, where damage can occur.

How important is this service?

You may not be able to turn the car with the force necessary if you have a power steering leak. This can end with unsafe driving situations and, worse, preventable crashes. If you noticed a power steering leak, this is definitely a problem. Book a mechanic to perform a thorough diagnosis before the steering system incurs further damage. It may have an inexpensive solution if you act quickly.