A power steering fluid leak is never a good sign. Power steering impacts every aspect of car handling. It affords drivers the ability to maneuver around obstacles or other cars easily. Your power steering is fundamental to the safety and responsiveness of your car.
Power steering fluid is the hydraulic fluid that delivers power to your steering system. It helps produce the pressure that enables you to move the wheels with ease.
Power steering fluid is as crucial to road safety as engine oil is to sustained engine performance. Without this vital fluid, your power steering will fail. A reduction or leak in power steering fluid makes your vehicle more difficult to handle.
In this article, we’ll examine the top five causes of power steering leaks, as well as how to correct them.
What Causes Power Steering Fluid Leak and How to Fix It
1. Contaminated Fluid
A Power steering can generate incredible amounts of force with only little effort, making them ideal for handling vehicles of any kind. This intricate system can only function correctly if the power steering fluid is pure.
Contaminated fluid will cause leaks by wearing out fittings, increasing friction, blocking the steering system, and even cause certain components to fail.
Preventing and fixing this issue is relatively easy. Drain out contaminated power steering fluid and replace it with a new, pure fluid called a power steering flush. A Power steering flush will remove any contaminants in the fluid.
Every car is different, and there’s hardly a one-size-fits-all way to do this. So be sure to consult your owner’s manual to find out how to and how often to change your power steering fluid. This will ensure the hydraulic system keeps working flawlessly.
2. Aged Seals
One of the most common causes of power steering fluid leaks is wear and tear from everyday use. The value of seals cannot be overstated, as a seal’s job is to ensure that there is no leak within the vehicle.
O-rings and seals lose texture, mass, and form as cars age and accumulate many miles. These seals tend to dissolve into little chunks that float around in the fluid.
The larger the pieces of O-rings or seals in your fluid, the more difficult it is for it to move. When this happens, these critical components cannot perform their functions correctly, and the fluid leaks out, posing a danger to both the car and the driver.
Seals aren’t the only components susceptible to aging; the entire power steering pump will eventually wear out. A notable sign that they’re deteriorating is if you begin to hear a lot of noise when you make a turn.
You might be thinking of a power steering flush, but this is only a temporary solution because the seals will continue to degrade and pollute the new power steering fluid.
There are products designed to reach the seals and O-rings and condition them to stop the leak. These products can fix the aging seals, restore them to their intended shape and quality, and curb the leak. One such product is Bar’s Leaks 1600 Power Steering Repair.
If your seals are too worn out to be repaired, they may need to be replaced. You can’t replace just the seals, so you’ll need to have to replace everything in this situation.
When replacing components, consult your vehicle repair manual for instructions and torque specifications for your system. Or Consult a trusted store.
3. Broken Belts
An engine-driven pump enables power steering. The power steering pump is connected to the car’s engine, so when there is damage such as corrosion, it can cause the pump to strain, tear, or break, resulting in fluid leaks and possibly power steering damage.
Regularly check your power steering belt to ensure it’s in good shape and working appropriately. If the belt is damaged, then you will need to replace it.
4. Improper Fluid Levels
A power steering system requires a specific amount of fluid for it to function correctly. If you put too much fluid, it’ll strain your valves and seals, and the stress may fail. If there isn’t enough fluid, the power steering won’t create enough force to turn the car.
When the power steering reservoir is filled beyond the maximum level, leaks might occur. Excess power steering fluid may begin to seep from the reservoir’s cap, giving the appearance of a leak. Improper fluid levels can also damage your power steering system.
Replacing your power steering fluid on time should solve this problem. Also, every liquid required to run a vehicle has optimal amounts, and it’s good practice to periodically check and ensure that the power steering fluid and other fluids such as brake fluid are all at the optimal level at all times.
5. Excessive Force
Your power steering is built to withstand a variety of road conditions. Potholes, sudden bumps, and other strong jolts on the vehicle’s wheels should be fine enough for it to handle.
However, Pumps, belts, and other steering system components might become damaged if they are subjected to excessive stress in a short time.
The damage can range from mere leaks to more severe system problems.
To prevent this, we strongly advise you to avoid extremely rough roads unless you have a vehicle equipped with a steering pump specifically intended to manage such obstacles, such as a 4×4 or all-terrain SUV suited for off-road driving.
While it won’t leave you stranded on the side of the road, if this leaking problem is not treated promptly, it can also damage the vehicle, leading to expensive repairs.
A power steering fluid leak is not the sole indicator of power steering problems. A loud groan when turning the wheel could also signal power steering damage.
It is difficult to tell where a leak is coming from, so we recommend visiting a shop and having a technician look at your car. The leak could be caused by the things we listed above. It may even be all of them at once.
You can avoid a lot of the unexpected pressure on your power steering system by driving carefully and avoiding rough roads, and it will last for many years. General maintenance goes a long way in keeping your car in good shape.