The power steering fluid reservoir usually has a small dipstick underneath the cap. Check this level as with any dipstick and replace fluid as necessary. Do not fill unless fluid is below minimum. The need to fill the reservoir is unusual and if the oil drops below the minimum level more than twice a year then you should have it checked by a qualified mechanic. Low reveler levels can cause damage to your power steering and is usually accompanied by a low grinding noise when fully turning the steering wheel at slow speedsTips: Check the fluid level and the power steering belt if you hear a squeal when you turn the wheel all the way to one side. Take the car into a mechanic if the steering is stiff. Keep in mind that although drifting or shuddering may signal problems with the steering system, these symptoms may also relate to the car's tyres , suspension, brakes or other front-end problems
Warnings: Power steering fluid does not get "used up" - other than a leak, there's no reason that the fluid should be low. Fill the reservoir to the proper level and check frequently if you find it low. If it continues to be low, check for leaks and go see your mechanic. An empty power steering pump can be damaged very quickly and is costly to replace.
Many vehicles take different specifications of Power Steering Fluid.
RECOMMENDED FLUID TYPE FOR YOUR VEHICLE >>
Power steering Trouble Shooter
There are a few things you can check when it comes to steering.
Each wheel, especially the front wheels, have to be balanced so that no vibration occurs. This is usually done on a machine which spins the wheel and detects any imbalance in the wheel/tyre. Small lead weights are then added at the appropriate places to counter the imbalance so that the wheel spins smoothly.
Signs that your wheels may need balancing are vibrations through your steering wheel at certain speeds. Note a constant vibration at all speeds could be more serious than just a balance problem. Due to the need of a machine then it is best to take your car to a tyre center or garage that performs wheel balancing. It is usually inexpensive and can even be part of the service when buying new tyres for your car.
The alignment of the wheels is important to stop uneven tread wear and improve handling of the car. Signs that you need the wheels aligning are partially scrubbed tyres or wear lines where only a portion of your tyres tread has been worn away. Alignment lines the wheels up so that they are both parallel to each other +/- the required angle as stipulated by the manufacturer.
As with alignment the wheels must be at the correct angle from the ground as stipulated by the manufacturer. The angle from 90° is called towing and can be IN or OUT.
Balancing, tracking/alignment are all needed to ensure good road handling, even tyre wear and smooth motoring.
Checking for wear.
Under normal circumstances your car should drive straight but the car will tend to follow the camber of the road.(ie pull to the kerb because of the drainage slant of the road.) If your car pulls unnaturally to one side of the other then you need to check all of the above but it can be due to accident damage. The distance from the center of the back wheel to the center of the front wheel should be exactly the same on both sides of the car. If it is not then it is probably due to an impact pushing one of the wheels back. Small descrepancies can be sorted with adjustment but larger ones can indicate suspension/chassis damage.
Normal wear and tear will eventually cause sloppy steering. to test this turn the wheel quickly from side to side.The steering should feel constant without gaps. make sure that the tyres turn for every touch of the steering wheel and there are no knocking noises or lack of movement.
Lack of movement or knocking noises usually means a worn steering rack and might need replacement. If you have power steering then perform these tests with the engine running. Check for fluid leaks and excessive noise when turning your steering to eithrt full lock.
If you find any leaks, have your car inspected by a mechanic - if the power steering starts leaking, it will stop working soon. If the car has rack & pinion type steering mechanism , try to check both of steering boots they should not be damaged. If any of them has some damage, it has to be replaced - have your car inspected.
Power Steering MaintenanceInspection and replacement of defective power steering hoses is essential for driver safety and eliminates the expensive repairing or replacing of the steering pump or other components.
Hoses should be replaced after 20,000 to 24,000 miles as preventive maintenance. During that time and mileage, the hoses loose their effectiveness and are subject to failure.
Causes of Wear
Power Steering Hoses are subjected to far greater stresses and wear in the late model cars than they were in early vehicles. Pump operating pressures have increased from 650-900 P.S.I. to 900-1450 P.S.I. Operating temperatures now range between 150-250 degrees F. Later model cars are equipped with power steering pump oil coolers to control this heat.
High temperature pulsations cause power steering hoses to deteriorate from the inside. The constant flexing and pressure surges result in the breaking off of small particles of hose, which are carried through the entire system. This can cause the strainer to clog and valves to stick, resulting in system malfunction.
Custom designed power steering repair kits are supplied for all of the major components of the Integral, Linkage and Rack and Pinion Systems.
Guidelines For Inspection and Service
Replacement of power steering hose is warranted when visual inspection indicates the following:
Brittleness Or Hardness: An early sign of internal wear: the hose has lost its ability to absorb pressure surges.
Soft, Spongy Hose: A more serious sign of wear, indicating advanced internal deterioration and probable leakage.
Leakage Of Power Steering Fluid: Is easily detected by visual inspection of the hose at the end fittings.
External Wear And Abrasion: Caused by contact with manifold or other engine parts, calls for replacement and realignment of hose.
Thick, Sludgy Fluid in Pump Reservoir: Indicates internal hose wear and need for a complete flush of system.
Some signs of wear are noticeable to the driver, including noise or excessive vibration when turning or hard turning in either direction. These are danger symptoms calling for a test of the system and replacement of parts as required.
Power Steering Trouble Shooter
|Hard Steering||Low tyre pressure||Inflate tyres to correct pressure|
|Improper front suspension alignment||Re-align to specifications|
|High internal leakage (pump or gear)||Check pump pressure; replace affected pump parts or replace complete pump|
|Low oil level in reservoir||Add recommended type of P/S oil to proper level|
|Pump belt loose or glazed||Tighten or replace belt|
|Lack of lubricant in suspension or ball joints||Lubricate or replace parts as needed|
|Overcenter adjustment too tight||Readjust to specifications|
|Spool valve or flow control valve plugged or sticking||Clean or replace as required|
|Steering gear coupler to column is misaligned||Align steering column|
|Momentary increase in steering wheel effort when turned rapidly||Fluid level low in reservoir||Check level; Add recommended type of P/S oil to proper level|
|Pump belt slipping||Tighten or replace belt|
|High internal leakage||Check pump pressure; replace affected pump parts or replace complete pump|
|Steering wheel surges or jerks with engine running, especially at slow speeds||Pump belt loose||Tighten or replace belt|
|Low oil level in reservoir||Check level; Add recommended type of P/S oil to proper level|
|Engine idle too slow||Raise idle as required|
|Air in the system||Check all P/S hose connections and pump for leaks|
|Insufficient pump pressure||Check pump pressure; replace affected pump parts or replace complete pump|
|Flow control valve sticks||Check valve for dirt or burrs; replace as needed|
|Steering linkage hitting obstruction||Locate obstruction and repair|
|Sticky flow control valve||Inspect for varnish or damage; clean or replace as necessary|
|Excessive steering wheel return or loose steering||Air in the system||Add P/S fluid to system and bleed the system; check all connections and hoses for leaks|
|Excessive overcenter lash||Adjust to specifications|
|Loose steering gear mounting||Retourque mounting bolts|
|Steering linkage is worn or damaged||Inspect and replace affected parts|
|Steering coupler is loose or damaged||Inspect, tighten or replace as required|
|Loose thrust bearing preload adjustment||Adjust to specifications|
|Loose or damaged front wheel bearings||Inspect, adjust or replace as required|
|Vehicle wandering from side to side||Front end misaligned||Check and align to specifications|
|Worn front end parts or wheel bearings||Inspect and replace affected parts|
|Unbalanced or badly worn steering gear control valve||Inspect and replace affected parts|
|Poor steering wheel return||Tires underinflated||Inflate tyres to correct pressure|
|Steering gear adjustment too tight||Check adjustment with pitman arm disconnected; readjust if necessary|
|Front end misaligned||Check and align to specifications|
|Steering coupler misaligned, hitting obstruction or damaged||Inspect, adjust or replace affected parts|
|Binding or lack of lubrication in steering linkage or ball joints||Inspect, lubricate or replace affected parts|
|Sticky or plugged steering gear spool valve||Clean or replace|
|Internal leakage in steering gear||Inspect seals, replace as required or overhaul steering gear|
Power Steering System Noises
|Hissing Noise||Some hissing noise is normal in all power steering systems. Under certain conditions, such as tight parking maneuvers or turning the wheel from stop to stop, a hissing sound is most noticable. There is no direct relationship to the hissing noise and the performance of the steering system.||Nothing required|
|Control valve of power steering pump may be sticking in bore||Replace the pump contol valve only if the hissing noise is extremely objectionable. Check the coupler on the steering column for any metal to metal contact that may transmit the sound to the passenger compartment.|
|Grear Squawk||Damper "O" ring on spool valve is cut||Replace "O" ring|
|Growling||Restriction in the power steering system||Locate restriction and correct; replace parts as necessary|
|Extreme wear on cam ring||Replace affected parts|
|Scored pump pressure plate, thrust plate or rotor||Replace affected parts|
|Groan||Fluid level low in reservoir||Check level and fill to specifications|
|Air in the system||Check connections and hoses for leaks; repair and bleed the system|
|Pump swish sound||Defective pump control valve||Inspect valve for burrs or nicks; replace as necessary|
|Pump whine||Pump shaft bushing or bearing is scored or worn||Inspect pump shaft, bushing or bearing; replace affected parts|
|Belt squeal or chirp||Belt glazed or loose||Adjust or replace belt|
|Rattle or chuckle||Pressure hose coming in contact with other paets of car||Reposition power steering pressure hose|
|Loose pump or steering gear mounting||Retorque to specifications|
|Loose steering linkage||Inspect steering linkage for excessive play; replace affected parts as necessary|
|High point on steering gear improperly adjusted||Readjust to proper setting|
|Improperly installed pump vanes||Inspect, adjust or replace affected parts|
|Pump vanes sticking in rotor slots||Remove burrs and varnish from rotor and vanes, replace as necessary|
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Before you buy
The Legal requirements for legal tyres on UK cars