Reasons to Be Concerned About Low Power Steering Fluid


If your vehicle uses a power steering pump, then you must keep its fluid in good condition. One of the fastest ways to damage your power steering pump is to lose too much fluid. However, if you are unaware a leak exists, you may not realise you have a problem until too late. Here are some signs your power steering fluid is low and why you may need a pump replacement because of it.

The Cause of Low Power Steering Fluid

Your car does not consume power steering fluid. The entire system is closed. The pump helps circulate the power steering fluid through the system for lubrication and provide pressure. The same fluid circulates through the system until it is changed. If your power steering fluid is diminishing, then your system likely has a leak.

Leaks can happen anywhere in the system. The pump could be leaking, but so can the reservoir and hoses. Some leaks only occur when you drive or when the engine is on, so you may not know if you have a leak until you have a problem. When you run your power steering too low, you could risk damaging the pump.

Signs Your Power Steering Fluid Is Low

If your power steering fluid is low enough, you will see and hear signs that your pump needs attention. Below is a list of common low power steering fluid signs.

1. Noise. The most common low fluid noises are loud groaning and squealing. However, some makes are notorious for making a groaning noise regardless of the condition of the pump. Check with your dealer or mechanic to see if this noise is normal for your vehicle.

2. Stiff Steering. When your pump doesn't work as it should, your steering will seem stiff and more difficult. In some cases, it may feel like your steering is sticking or hesitating.

3. Visible Leaks. You may see spots of fluid that seem to trail in curves where you turn into your home's driveway or garage. If you don't see fluid under your car, check around the pump for wet spots.

You May Need New Power Steering Pump

You may have already damaged your power steering pump beyond your repair if you drove with little or no fluid. Even if you replenish that fluid quickly and the steering feels better, your power steering pump may not be back to normal. The longer you drove without fluid, the shorter the time your pump will last and the more problems you will have in the future.

If your car was designed with a power steering pump, you need to ensure it works properly. Some vehicle models are difficult to steer without the power steering engaged, so a bad pump could be a safety issue. If you damaged your pump or your pump stops working, find a retailer or mechanic for a new power steering pump.


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