Top 7 Signs of Power Steering Failure You Should Know.

A power steering system is used in current automobile vehicles for better steering and comfortable parking. There are 2 different types of power steering used, one is Electric power steering and the other is Hydraulic power steering. Depending upon the design, the different types of power steering systems is used.

In this article, I will discuss the top 7 signs of power steering failure of both electric and hydraulic systems.


Signs of Power Steering Failure

There are several signs available in the automotive car. The top 7 signs of a power steering system are-

  1. Difficulty turning the steering wheel.
  2. Leaking power steering fluid.
  3. Stiff or loose steering.
  4. Dashboard warning light.
  5. Burning Smell.
  6. The steering wheel returns to the center slowly.
  7. Vibration on the steering wheel.

All these signs of a power steering system are discussed below.

#1. Difficulty Turning the Steering Wheel

In the power steering system, the movement of the string in the wheel is easier and smoother. But if there are difficulties when turning the steering wheel, there will be certain problems. This symptom can manifest in various ways, depending on the nature of the power steering failure.

Difficulty turning the steering wheel can be caused by a range of issues, including

  • low power steering fluid levels – If the fluid level is low, then the fluid present in the system will contaminate with air. This will cause difficulties.
  • A failing power steering pump – If the power steering pump fails then the system will malfunction and need to be replaced with a new one.
  • A malfunctioning power steering belt – The power steering belt connects the electric motor with the rack or the pinion. This belt helps to transfer the torque from one place to another. If the belt malfunctions then the difficulties will happen.
  • Problems with the steering gear or rack – If the steering gearbox malfunctions then the turning effort will double as it will not move properly. That’s why maintaining the proper lubrication is important.

#2. Leaking Power Steering Fluid

In a hydraulic power steering system the hydraulic fluid is important to take the drive in the system. If the driver applies the power and the system fluid is not enough to do the work then the problem should be faced by the driver.

Leaking of power steering fluid can happen in some ways-

  • Improper tightening of fluid cap – If the technician does not properly tighten the cap then, some of the fluid present in the container leaks as the vehicle runs.
  • Hole in the fluid pipe – If the hydraulic fuel pipe has holes then the fluid can leak from there and waste. So check the hydraulic hoses carefully.
  • Loosen bolts of hydraulic pipe – If the bolts attached to the pipe are not tightened properly, or the gasket around the bolt is worn, then the problem should happen.
  • Defective hydraulic motor – If the hydraulic motor malfunctions or leaks from some places then this problem will happen.

Read More – 7 Types of EPS System(Electric Power Steering) You Should Know.

#3. Stiff or Loose Steering

If the steering is stiff or too loose then the problem should be resolved, as it will not operate properly. If this problem you are facing then these certain points can be happen –

  • Improper Calibration – If the hydraulic line is not calibrated properly then the air will be contaminated with the system. This will slug and the steering will feel hard to rotate.
  • Improper lubrication of steering gearbox – If the lubrication is not done properly, then the pinion on the rack will move with friction, causing problems in movement.
  • Problems with sensors – In the electrical power steering system the sensors and the motor is the main thing. If the motor and the sensors malfunction the steering should move loosely or stiffly.
  • Faulty motor or hydraulic pump – If the hydraulic pump or the electric motor malfunctions then the system will face certain stiffness or looseness.

#4. Dashboard Warning Light

In hydraulic and electric, both have warning signals if there is some malfunction in the system. If a driver sees any warning light then, he should visit the nearest service center to repair the car. These malfunctions can cause a serious problem to the steering system.

So, the dashboard warning light can pop up for these reasons –

  • Sensor malfunction – If the sensors in the EPS system malfunction then this warning light can pop up in the dashboard.
  • Defective Pump – If the pump, electric or hydraulic, is defective or some parts are not working properly then the warning light will pop up.
  • Defective ECU system – If the ECU(Electronic Control Unit) in the vehicle senses some defect in the sensors or the actuators then the light will show in the dashboard.

#5. Burning Smell

In a Power Steering system, the fluids or the electric motor operate at a certain speed or a certain temperature. If there are some malfunctions in the system, some parts in the power steering system can lead to high temperatures.

So, the burning smell comes out from these reasons –

  • Improper lubrication of parts – If the mechanical parts operate in the system then these parts need to be lubricated properly. If the system fails in lubrication then the friction will cause burning or wearing of the parts.
  • Malfunction in electric motor – If the electric generates too much torque and the system does need that much, then the excessive rotation of the shaft can burn the coils.
  • High pressure in fluid line – If the cooling of the parts is not done properly, then the hydraulic fuel can damage the line and smell like burning something.

#6. The Steering Wheel Returns to The Center Slowly

The steering wheel is like infinity as it returns to its place. If the steering wheel will not return to its place then the driver needs to replace the wheel to its place.

If the steering wheel is returning to the center slowly then these are the probable causes –

  • Malfunction in the steering gearbox – If the steering gearbox malfunctions then the steering movement will be slow.
  • Improper movement of returning gearbox – If the returning gearbox in the EPS system malfunctions then the return of the steering will be slow to the original place.
  • Loosen Belt – A belt connects the electric motor to the pinion gearbox. If the belt loses then the system will face a slower movement of the steering linkages.

Read More – Causes of Tire Wear | 3 Different Situations You Should Know.

#7. Vibration on the Steering Wheel

The steering wheel in a car needs to be steady and vibrationless. If the steering wheel vibrates as the vehicle moves then the driver will feel shaky movement. The steering linkages and the universal joints in the linkages suck the major shock coming from the road.

If the vibration on the steering wheel feels, then certain things can happen to the car –

  • Rash driving – If a driver drives the car faster than its specific range, the steering system will vibrate and cause the system failure.
  • Improper level of hydraulic fluid – If the hydraulic fluid in the system falls, the air will take the vacuum please and the steering wheel will feel a jeary motion.
  • Lubrication of steering linkages – If the lubrication in the steering linkages is not done correctly then the system will face a certain jerk, as it will not absorb the major shock coming out from the road.

Conclusion on Signs of Power Steering Failure

So in a power steering system, the steering should move freely to give direction to the vehicle. In this system, the electric motor and the hydraulic oil are the main or key components. If you feel some malfunction or the above signs I mentioned then it is recommended to visit a service center.

Note – Only a trained technician can help to get rid of these 7 signs of power steering failure. If you are facing problems then you should visit your nearest service station. 

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