Power steering symptoms are easier to spot than other types of car problem. This is because you use your car’s steering so much. Over time, it becomes familiar to you, even if you are not conscious of this happening.
To help you understand what is going on with your power steering and when you should bring your car to a specialist to get it checked, here are six signs you have a problem with your power steering.
- Steering is heavy – the main purpose of power steering is to make your steering wheel easier to turn. If it becomes heavier than normal you probably have a problem. The first thing to check if you feel your steering is heavy is the power steering fluid level. If this is low, you can try filling it up. Make sure you check the fluid again periodically as you might have a leak which will need to be repaired. The power steering will also need to be checked and repaired if the steering is heavy and the fluid level is okay.
- Squealing noises – unusual noises from your car are often signs of a problem. In terms of your power steering, you might have a problem if there are noises when you turn sharply or when steering while driving at slow speeds. The noise often sounds like a squeal or whine. If you hear these noises, you should get the power steering checked as it might be a problem with the pump.
- Other types of noise – squealing noises are not the only noise that can indicate a problem with your power steering. Clunking and banging sounds can also indicate there is an issue.
- Vibrations – a number of different things can cause your steering wheel to vibrate, including power steering problems. This vibration can be there all the time, or it may only occur when you turn or accelerate. Vibrations in the steering can become very serious as they can result in you losing the ability to steer completely. It is best to get any sort of vibration checked immediately.
- Loose or slipping steering – after you have driven your car for a while, you will know how responsive the steering is and how it responds as you turn corners and then straighten up again. Your power steering could be developing problems if any of these responses start to change. The most common is if the steering wheel becomes looser than normal, i.e. there is play in the steering wheel. Slipping steering is also an indicator of potential issues.
- Car pulls – does your car pull to one side when driving straight? This is another indicator of a potential problem with your power steering. It could be a fluid problem, so you should check that first. You will probably need to get your car looked at by a specialist, however.
Finally, it is important you get expert advice and professional repair work if you spot any of the symptoms above. Remember, if you delay, the problem can get worse and become more difficult and costly to fix. In addition, power steering problems can make your car less safe to drive.
The best approach is to be aware of what your steering is doing and get it checked as soon as possible if you have concerns.