At Belconnen Transmission & Driveline Services we specialise in power steering systems. The power steering system is one of the most important systems on your vehicle. When it’s not performing properly or fails completely it can be a serious safety hazard. Losing the ability to steer your vehicle is extremely dangerous to you and others. Many manufacturers do not include it as part of their list of fluids to change on vehicles but it most certainly should be changed to prevent system failures and costly repairs. Take it from us, power steering system leaks and failures are something we see on a daily basis which could be avoided with regular maintenance.
The power steering system in your vehicle is there to aid you in turning the wheels at low speeds. Today’s vehicles are equipped with larger heavier and wider tires and wheels than older vehicles. These tires are designed to grab the road to make sure you do not lose traction in a corner or under acceleration. Without power steering, these road grabbing tires would be extremely difficult to turn without a really big steering wheel, or the help of your power steering system.
The system uses oil under pressure to assist in moving the front wheels back and forth as you drive. When you turn the steering wheel, a spool valve directs the system pressure towards the direction you turn the wheel. Fluid is constantly pumped from the power steering pump through the system when the engine is running. After the fluid passes through the steering rack, it returns as a low pressure fluid back to the reservoir that maybe mounted on the pump. This cycle repeats itself over and over through the life of the system.
The power steering system makes steering at low speeds easier by pumping pressurized hydraulic fluid. When the fluid runs low, the steering wheel becomes harder to turn, produces creaking sounds, and heats the power steering motor. Any overheated motor, including the power steering system, will break eventually.
The power steering system is designed to be progressive, offering more steering assistance while the vehicle is moving at slow speeds where the steering is heaviest. As the vehicle picks up speed the assistance provided by the power steering is reduced. Meanwhile, the torque sensor keeps track of changes in torque being applied to both ends of the stem. The pump has two lines going to it a high-pressure line that carries the fluid used in providing the assistance or work, and a return line that runs back to the pump. The return line is often nothing more than a rubber hose that is impervious to oil, clamped to the outlet of the steering box and onto the pump. Both ends of the return line connect to the system through metal tubes that are flared to help secure the hose in place. In contrast, the high-pressure line is a typical hydraulic hose similar to that found on any hydraulic system.
Some cars use a hybrid of both hydraulic and electric power steering. These cars still have hydraulic pistons in the steering rack, but maintain pressure using an electric motor rather than a pump attached to the engine.
Wheel alignment plays a big part in the longevity of the system. If the car has a tendency to pull to the right or left while driving in a straight line, this will cause a constant load on the pump, making it run at elevated power levels which could cause it to fail. If you have to maintain more than the slightest pull on the steering wheel to keep the car on in straight line, bring it in to us to have the alignment checked. Also, larger than stock wheels and tires create additional load on the system, especially if the alignment is not spot on.
Belconnen Transmission & Driveline Services are experts in power steering systems so no matter what the problem is we are able to diagnose faults easily and repair them cost effectively.
Use our contact form and we will call you back to book your appointment or call us today on 02 6253 1188 to discuss your power steering system needs. Alternatively just call in to our workshop at Unit 7, Carco Centre, Nettlefold St, Belconnen.