Power Steering Troubleshooting for Your Vehicle
Never overlook or ignore problems you might be having with your vehicle's power steering, as even the smallest problem with steering can mean losing control of your vehicle while on the road, increasing your risk of an accident. As with all problems under the hood, a seemingly minor issue with power steering can also get worse with time, leading to costly repair bills.
While only a mechanic can determine what might be wrong with your vehicle's power steering, note a few troubleshooting tips to keep in mind. This will help you to know what you might be facing by way of needed repairs.
Steering is failing on one side of the vehicle
If the power steering of your vehicle is failing on just one side of the car or truck, this might be the fault of the tyres rather than the steering. A tyre may be underinflated or its rim may be bent, so that the tyre drags and isn't responsive to the steering wheel. The steering wheel itself may also need to be calibrated. If the wheel is off-centre, it can fail to properly direct one side of the vehicle, so it's difficult to turn or keep the vehicle driving straight while on the road.
Not returning to centre
If you turn a corner and the steering wheel and tyres don't return to centre, this is often a problem with the vehicle's alignment. This problem often occurs after an accident, when tie rods and other parts of the steering components are bent. Have a mechanic inspect the tie rods and the rims of tyres so those parts can be replaced or repaired and your vehicle doesn't pull or drag after having made a turn.
Squealing when turning
If your vehicle makes any type of loud squealing noise when you turn, this is often the fault of the bearings, which allow the wheels to move smoothly when they're turned. This noise can also be the fault of the power steering belt, which might be damaged or worn so that it squeals when there is added pressure on that belt, such as during a turn. You can often inspect and even replace the belt yourself; check your car's owner's manual for the location of the power steering belt if you're not sure how to identify it. If that belt is corroded, worn or holding lots of sediment, it's time to have it replaced to ensure the power steering doesn't give out while you're on the road.