Unless you have a really old vehicle, it will have some sort of power steering system that improves handling and control. Power steering has been around for many decades, though the technology has evolved quite a lot over the years. These days, many cars will also have electronic power steering systems that are very advanced.
Electronic power steering systems don’t require much maintenance at all. However, some are prone to have problems and could require repairs if they are not working right. Because we work with a lot of hybrids, exotics and luxury vehicles at San Francisco Automotive Solutions, we know what to look for and how to fix issues with modern electronic power steering systems.
In this article, though, we want to talk about the more traditional style of power steering that uses power steering fluid to provide hydraulic pressure for better steering control. So many cars have been made with this type of power steering system, and some power steering designs are better than others. Traditional power steering systems do require periodic maintenance, which primarily involves changing out the power steering fluid when it becomes old or gunky. Fresh fluid keeps the system running smoothly.
No matter what type of power steering system you have in your vehicle, there are signs to look for when things aren’t working right. Here are 4 of the most common power steering issues according to the Bay Area auto repair experts at San Francisco Automotive Solutions:
1. It’s Hard to Turn the Wheel
A clear indicator that there is a power steering problem is when the steering wheel feels extra tight and is difficult to turn. It can be very dangerous driving when the power steering system is seizing up. There could be a mechanical issue or you may just be due for a power steering service to replace the power steering fluid.
2. Sluggish Steering Response
Opposite of #1, it may seem that the steering wheel feels super loose or the vehicle’s wheels seem slow to react when you turn the steering wheel. This could be a wheel alignment issue or something else like the brakes or suspension. However, there is a good chance it is a power steering problem worth getting looked at by a professional mechanic.
3. Screeching When the Car is Turned On
Another common sign of power steering problems is when the car makes a significant screeching sound when it is turned on. This is usually associated with a loose or damaged belt. It could be a timing belt, a fan belt, the alternator or the belt within the power steering system. You’ll want to get all your belts inspected before major damage occurs.
4. You Hear Moaning or Groaning While You Turn
Another sound associated with power steering problems is a distinct moaning/groaning sound that will typically happen while you are turning the car. You may have a failing power steering pump, power steering fluid issues or something mechanical that you should get inspected sooner rather than later.
If you notice any of these power steering problems or something else wrong with your vehicle, call San Francisco Automotive Solutions today at (415) 957-1170 or schedule your service appointment online. We’ll get to the source of the issue and recommend the necessary maintenance or repairs.