Is it time to fill up your power steering fluid?
Hydraulic power steerings have become the gold standard for many vehicles today. They are durable and efficient steering mechanisms that allow motorists to navigate roads with precision. However, these steerings are not fail-proof. They have to be carefully maintained in order to ensure maximum performance for long periods of time.
One of the components that make a power steering effective is the steering fluid. This fluid maintains the hydraulic system within the steering mechanism and makes the wheel work correctly. Low levels of steering fluid may result in a jerky steering wheel, screeching noises and difficulty controlling the vehicle. Watch out for the following signs to ensure that your power steering fluid is not running low.
A noisy steering wheel
When a power steering is operating effectively, it does not make any noises even when you turn the wheel. Once you begin to notice a noisy steering wheel that is making screeching noises when you turn the wheel or when driving slowly, it is a sign that the power steering fluid is low.
The noise is primarily caused by air that penetrates the hydraulic system and causes the steering pump to generate frequent squealing and screeching sounds. This problem can be fixed by topping off your steering fluid.
Difficulty turning the wheel
The hydraulic steering system is aimed at allowing the wheel to turn freely in order to improve navigation. When you notice that your steering wheel gets stuck or is harder to turn, it could be a sign that your power steering fluid needs to be topped off.
Low levels of fluid result in higher friction within the hydraulic system. As a result, the steering wheel will feel harder to turn, and the vehicle will be trickier to navigate.
Frequent stains underneath the vehicle
Are you constantly seeing pools of fluid underneath the vehicle when you park it? There are many different fluids that could be the culprit, including your power steering fluid.
Noticing these leaks along with the other signs explained above might point to a leaking fluid container that needs to be sealed as soon as possible.
The steering feels jerky
Navigating a hydraulic steering wheel should be smooth and efficient. You may notice that as you drive slowly, the power steering is jerking back and forth and may feel harder to maintain a grip.
A jerking steering wheel is a common sign of low levels of power steering fluid. Make sure you top off the fluid as soon as possible to correct this problem.