Power Steering became popular on cars in the late 1980s and was a major advancement at the time, transforming the way we drive cars today. If you have ever driven a car without power steering you will understand just how different a car is to drive. Power Steering on a car makes turning the steering wheel easier and also aids returning the steering wheel to center having negotiated a turn. Maintaining the power steering system is relatively easy however like all car parts that perform regular functions the parts wear out and at some point will need replacing. The most important aspect a driver can do is maintaining correct power steering fluid levels, similar to checking the oil in the vehicle. Most cars with power steering will have a power steering fluid reservoir and a dipstick, so if fluid is low you can top up with new fluid, just like topping the oil for the engine. The common signs when fluids are low are, the steering becoming more difficult, or a grinding sound or similar when turning corners or on full lock. Any fluid leaks can generally be detected under the car, similar to an oil leak. The common parts or the power steering system are:
Power steering rack
The main unit of the system, it provides your car with gear reduction making it easier and to turn the wheels. On both ends the power steer rack will have rack ends and rubber boots to protect these components. Check for worn or split boots regularly and replace if any sign of damage. Rack ends will often wear out and when they do you will notice a clunking, knocking sound as they become loose. Both boots and rack ends are relatively inexpensive and readily available aftermarket.
The pump provides the hydraulic power steer fluid to the rack needed for steering. The pump will generally wear before the rack and if fluids are not maintained will be the first item to fail. A grinding knocking noise when steering or cornering is the first sign of wear. The pump has seals which in time may leak. Both pumps and racks can generally be reconditioned and are available on an exchange basis. For common model cars such as Commodore, Falcon, Hilux etc pumps and racks are now available new and an easy alternative than exchanging your old parts.
The hose feeds the hydraulic fluid to the gear, making the wheel turn smoothly and easily. If a power steering hose fails you will lose power steering immediately. If a power steering hose does fail do not continue driving. These can be replaced and when doing so ensure you top up any lost fluid.
The pump is joined to the reservoir. If the pump is not rightly joined, the power steering fluid will not reach the pump entirely which will cause a reduction in the performance of the power steering.
If you find you are in need of a replacement part quickly and don’t have time to put in an order at the auto parts shop or the cash flow to take your car to the mechanic then hopping online is a great cost effective option and in no time the part you need to get back on the road is delivered to your doorstep, usually at a fraction of the cost.
Browse through thousands of car parts at www.autopartsdirect2u.com.au and if you aren’t sure on which part to purchase or would like to ask a question, their friendly experts are available online to email you any advice and to help with any question on any make or model of car.