Power Steering Fluid Leak: Causes, Symptoms, Fixes


Bennett  Oghifo

Cars are designed to run perfectly with the proper functioning of various components. Some of these components are powered by fluids which keep them lubricated to deliver their best performance on the road.

Maintaining the various components of a vehicle is important in order to avoid any malfunction. One of such malfunctions is the power steering fluid leak. This can be a very serious problem because of its negative impact on a driver’s ability to turn the steering seamlessly.

To avoid the danger of being ignorant about the cause of a leak in a vehicle’s power steering, take some time and find out what’s responsible and how to fix the issue below.

Why Is My Power Steering Fluid Leaking?

Vehicle components are designed to last different lifespans. The lifespan of the various components is subject to wear and tear. Due to wear and tear, there may be a need to replace some worn-out parts besides performing regular maintenance.

Therefore, if your car’s power steering fluid is leaking fast, it is most likely that the seals are suffering from natural wear and tear due to long-term usage. In some cases, the power steering can also be damaged by unfiltered, impure power steering fluid.

It is pretty easy to identify whether you have impure power steering fluid in your car’s steering system. The regular steering fluid is usually pink or red, and it can be clear in some cases. When the fluid is contaminated, its color will be altered to either black or brown.

So, overlooking the color of the fluid used in a car’s power steering system can also be detrimental to the system in the long run. Contaminated fluid shouldn’t be tolerated or used in your vehicle at any point in time.

Is It Safe To Drive With A Leaking Power Steering Fluid?

No matter what, safety must not be compromised when driving a car because a slight malfunction can sometimes be disastrous. Some malfunction may not be apparent initially but can be dangerous in the long run.

So, concerning driving with a leaking power steering fluid, the symptom may continue and not alter the proper running of a vehicle. However, once a vehicle’s steering pump runs dry due to constant fluid leakage, it will hinder the process of turning the steering to corners (left or right).

If serious care is not taken in managing the difficulty in turning a faulty steering system due to a steering fluid leak, it can lead to an accident. So, in a nutshell, it is not safe to drive with a leaking power steering fluid.

Symptoms Of Power Steering Fluid Leak

Identifying when there is a problem with a vehicle’s power steering fluid does not require professional knowledge. A vehicle’s power steering fluid leak symptoms are easily noticeable, and they include the following.

Fluid on the garage floor

When a vehicle’s steering system becomes faulty due to a fluid leak, you will always find fluid beneath the vehicle engine area on the floor of your garage. This occurrence will usually be noticed in the morning when you start the car to drive out.

So, ensure to check around your garage to see whether there are oil stains on the floor due to a power steering fluid leak when a car is off. This can be a sign that your car’s steering system is leaking fluid.

Ignition noise

Another common symptom of a leaking power steering fluid is its impact on the vehicle’s ignition process. When you experience a steering fluid leak, the steering pump will always squeal when the ignition is turned ON.

Sometimes, after the squeal, the dashboard warning light may be triggered. If you ever experience this occurrence, it is most likely you have a leaking power steering fluid.

Grinding or whining noise

A vehicle’s steering system is designed to work flawlessly without any noise when turning to the left or right. A malfunction in the system due to a fluid leak will alter this quietness.

When a vehicle’s steering leaks fluid constantly for a long time, the fluid level will reduce drastically and result in the steering system producing a whining or grinding sound when the steering is turned left or right.

Delayed steering wheel response

It can be frustrating when trying to make a U-turn, only to be stuck on the other side of the road, moving back and forth because of a stiff steering wheel. This delay in the steering wheel response is usually due to the leaking power steering pump.

Contact an expert mechanic to fix your car’s power steering problem immediately to avoid the dangers that may result from the difficulty in turning corners when driving.

How To Fix Leaking Power Steering Fluid

As a reminder, waiting for too long before fixing a car’s steering fluid leak issue can cause severe damage in the long run. In some cases, a steering fluid leak may just require adjusting the steering system to normalize its operation—no wonder some problems escalate due to neglect.

And, fixing a leaking power steering fluid that may not be easily rectified by a mere adjustment within the steering system will require the intervention of a professional auto mechanic.

With basic exposure, DIY enthusiasts may also be able to fix the problem. So, you may want to engage in the following procedure to fix the issue ASAP.

Flush/clean the power steering.

Debris or dirt may be responsible for the problem at hand. So, flushing or cleaning the power steering is the best way to get the dirt or debris out of the system. This can take some minutes to a few hours to perform.

Replace worn out parts

If you find loose nuts or worn-out parts like the hoses, the remedy is to tighten the loose nuts and replace any defective part that is no longer functional. Endeavor to get new hoses in case the old ones are not in good shape.

You may also need to check for defective caps that help to prevent fluid from spilling. If any, get a replacement for them also. Kindly replace the power steering fluid circuit if it requires a change.

Apply power steering stop leak

If you find any holes around the vehicle’s power steering system’s area, you may have to get a power steering stop leak product to fill the opening in order to prevent the leaks. In that case, you may need to find out how to use a power steering stop leak.

(Source: rxmechanic)

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