Power steering: malfunctions and their repair

Sooner or later almost any car owner is faced with the need to repair the power steering. How to recognize that the power steering is out of order? How to maximally extend its service life? Let’s consider in more detail. And you can find out how to recycle your car here: https://scrapcar.cash.

What is power steering?

The main task of the power steering system is to create additional force during the rotation of the steering wheel due to the hydraulic drive. While driving, less effort will be required to turn the wheels, and the vehicle’s handling, maneuverability, and responsiveness will increase.

The power steering consists of elements such as a pump, distributor, hydraulic cylinder, reservoir, and connecting hoses. The main function of the hydraulic pump is to maintain pressure in the system and provide circulation of oil, which is directed to the cavities of the hydraulic cylinder and tank through the connecting hoses by the distributor. The hydraulic cylinder actuates the lever system under fluid pressure. As a rule, it is built into the steering mechanism itself.

Main signs of malfunction of hydraulic control

While driving, you feel a reverse shock, and the steering wheel is perceptibly held – the reason is in the weak tension or wear of the pump drive belt. Contact a service center for belt replacement or belt adjustment.

When you turn the steering wheel it is necessary to apply force, or the steering wheel turns too easily. In the first case you should pay attention to the drive belt, oil level in the filler reservoir, power steering pump pressure, check the reservoir filter for contamination. In the second case, the electronic equipment may be defective.

Noise when turning the steering wheel means that the power steering pipes are loose from the body, or the steering link rod ends are installed incorrectly.

The vibration signals that the hydraulic system is bloated or that the tires are in poor condition (bumps and poor grip).

After turning, the wheels have difficulty returning to the level position. The problem may be caused by the steering wheel mount being loose, or by the steering wheel being loose while driving.

If the steering wheel has started to turn on its own, the pump pressure and ball joints should be checked. A stuck valve may also be the cause.

If you notice other signs of power steering malfunction, be sure to contact the service center. Even if you managed to determine the cause of the malfunction yourself, you will not be able to fix it qualitatively with your own hands. Failure of the power steering is a serious reason to undergo a complete diagnosis of the steering system.

Steering control repair stages

The master conducts a thorough cleaning of the system elements using a special chemical composition.

After disassembly of the unit, all the parts are checked for the appearance of rust foci. Components with traces of corrosion are ground or replaced by new ones.

The pump running surfaces, pressure reducing valves and shaft bearings are diagnosed. If necessary parts are replaced, new seals are installed.

Check the condition of the pump drive belt – it may be loosely tensioned or worn.

The master performs a check of the liquid in the tank, in case of shortage or poor quality replaces it.

After completing the repair work, the unit is tested on a diagnostic stand, simulating the mechanism of the car.

How to prolong the life of the power steering and avoid breakdowns?

In order for the power steering unit to work reliably and last a long time, it is enough to follow five simple recommendations.

Try not to turn the steering wheel to extreme positions, and if it happened – keep the steering wheel no longer than 4-5 seconds. It is forbidden to move off sharply at extreme positions of a steering wheel. Such actions may cause overheating of the operating fluid, unreasonable load on the steering rack and gearbox.

Keep a close eye on the level and quality of the fluid in the hydraulic oil reservoir – it is recommended to check it at least once in 15,000 km of mileage. If there is a shortage, a complete oil change is performed. If the oil changes color, darkens (turns brown), replace it.

If the fluid leaks from the hydraulic system, don’t try to solve the problem yourself with sealants and additives. Entrust the repair of your car to a qualified technician.

In winter you should warm up not only the engine, but also the power steering. By turning the steering wheel right and left a few times, you will warm up the working fluid in the system and reduce the risk of wear of parts.

Listen for power steering noises as you drive your vehicle. Any suspicious noise, knock or hum is a reason to call a car service.

Remember: driving a vehicle with a faulty steering system can lead to accidents on the roads. Have your vehicle inspected regularly, and it will serve you well for a long time.


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