Most cars, trucks, SUVs and vans manufactured in the past 30-40 years will feature power steering. The reason for this is because it makes the vehicle easier to control. You are able to turn the wheels freely with minimal effort compared to older cars without any sort of power steering components.
However, as vehicles continue to evolve in the 21st Century, so too do power steering systems. In this article, we will discuss the different types of power steering systems found in modern vehicles and the maintenance required to keep these systems working properly over time.
Traditional Hydraulic Power Steering Systems
A vast majority of power steering systems (up until the past few years of manufacturing) will feature a hydraulic setup. Hydraulic fluid (a.k.a. power steering fluid) is pumped into and out of a chamber to provide smooth steering for the driver while at the same time creating maximum torque to turn the front wheels.
As with all fluids in your vehicle, your power steering fluid should be checked regularly and replaced as needed. If the fluid level is low and the fluid is in good shape, the reservoir can simply be topped off with fresh power steering fluid. However, if the fluid inside is corroded, dirty or burnt, it should be replaced. In this situation, a power steering service is recommended. This process involves flushing out the old fluid, cleaning the system with a specialized solvent and then putting in all new power steering fluid.
How often you need to do a power steering service will depend on a variety of factors. It may be recommended every 30,000-100,000 miles depending on the care, on the power steering system itself or other factors that may cause the fluid to corrode more quickly. It's always a good idea to get your power steering fluid checked with every maintenance service visit.
Electric Power Steering Systems
In recent years, most vehicle manufacturers have switched to more advanced electric power steering systems that do not depend on power steering fluid or hydraulic power. Some of the early systems had their flaws, but the advancements have been great since then. Though there's no fluid to worry about, electric power steering systems still require some maintenance. They should still be checked and tested with your service visits. Electrical connections can become corroded over time or sensors can fail, just like in any electronic system in your vehicle.
Power Steering System Repair
No matter what type of power steering system you have, components can be damaged or wear out with time. If you feel that your steering wheel is extra loose or extra tight on turns, or if something just doesn't feel quite right with your steering, it is worth getting looked at by a professional auto repair shop like LightHouse Automotive. You want your power steering to be working properly for good vehicle performance and your own safety as a driver.
For all your power steering repair and maintenance needs in Colorado Springs, call LightHouse Automotive today at (719) 465-0302 or schedule your service appointment online.