Your car's power steering system works by using hydraulic pressure to boost the motion of your steering wheel, allowing you to turn your vehicle comfortably. Without it, simply turning your steering wheel would require a significant amount of physical effort.
It's easy to notice when your power steering isn't working correctly, but maintaining your system can help to avoid these potentially costly failures. Although it may be less familiar to you than regular oil changes or brake pad replacements, power steering system maintenance is no less critical. These three tips will help you to keep your system in top shape.
1. Replace Your Fluid
Flushing and replacing your power steering fluid is the simplest task you can undertake to maintain your power steering system. Although you will not lose fluid from a system that is functioning correctly, your current fluid can become contaminated over time. In most cases, this contamination is the result of wear and tear on components adding particulate matter to the fluid.
As with other types of fluid contamination, these suspended particles can lead to increased wear on essential components. Not only will dirty fluid wear down your pump faster, but it can also damage seals and lead to leaks over time. In general, you should replace your fluid according to the maintenance schedule in your owner's manual or about once every 100,000 miles.
2. Carefully Monitor for Leaks
Power steering leaks are common on older vehicles. The typical power steering system uses several hoses to transport hydraulic fluid between the pump, reservoir, and steering rack. Leaks can develop in the hoses, as well as in the seals between the hoses and the components. A loss of fluid prevents your power steering system from functioning correctly and may ultimately damage the pump or your rack.
While it can be difficult for non-experts to spot leaks, you can monitor your fluid levels. Check your power steering fluid level at least once or twice per year so that you can detect leaks before they become significant problems.
3 Change the Filter
Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, you may have a replaceable filter. Some cars also use a screen integrated into the power steering fluid reservoir. If you aren't sure about your particular model, consult with a mechanic to determine if your car has a replaceable filter. In most cases, you will want to replace your filter any time you perform a power steering fluid flush.
Maintaining your car's power steering system is an excellent and relatively inexpensive way to keep your vehicle running smoothly well into the six-figure mileage range. Contact auto maintenance services to learn more.