Car enthusiasts would argue that "those were the days". Everything you drove was built like a tank and had the chrome on it so you enjoyed washing it but NO power steering. For most of us, it is hard to remember life without power steering – cranking those great big steering wheels? It was a pretty good workout. Now power steering is standard. The heart of any power steering system is its pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid that provides assistance for steering. Most pumps are driven by a belt that is run by the engine – a few are electrically powered. A high-pressure hose passes fluid from the pump to the steering gear. A low-pressure hose returns the fluid back to the pump. Here at Owen Automotive in Oakland, TN we know that you depend on that power steering and check your fluid & hoses religiously!
These hoses can develop leaks, so it is a good idea to inspect them at every oil change. Low fluid can damage the power steering pump. That is why fluid level is on the checklist for a full-service oil change. The fluid needs to be compatible with the hoses and seals, so check your owners’ manual for the right type – or just ask our ASE certified technicians on your next trip into the shop here at Owen Automotive.
The fluid cleans, cools, and lubricates the power steering system. It breaks down as the years go by and collects unwanted moisture, so it needs to be replaced from time to time. Many manufacturers specify power steering service intervals. Unfortunately, this important service is sometimes left off the maintenance schedule at other shops. So, when in doubt, every 25,000 miles or two years is a good fallback. We will use a detergent to clean the system, flush out the old fluid, and replace it with the good stuff.
Here are some warning signs of trouble with your power steering: It's harder to turn the wheel, there's erratic power assist, you hear loud whining coming from the pump (which may be difficult to hear over the loud whining coming from the backseat), you have to top-off the fluid frequently, or you hear squealing belts. Remember to never hold the steering wheel to the far right or left for more than a few seconds at a time. That will wear out your pump real fast. Other steering components can be bent or damaged from wear or hard knocks. Ball-joint, idler-arm, steering-gear, steering-knuckle and tie rod to name a few. Warning signs here are steering play, wandering, uneven tire wear, and off-center steering wheel. An annual alignment check will reveal bent or damaged steering components. Most SUVs, pick-ups, and rear-wheel-drive cars need regular front-wheel-bearing service. The bearings should be cleaned and inspected. If they are excessively worn, they need to be replaced. The bearings are then repacked in clean grease. It's also recommended the wheel-seal be replaced when the bearings are serviced. Like everything else, check your owners’ manual maintenance schedule. It's usually required around every two years or 40,000 miles. If you drive through water, the bearings will need service more often.
It's all about how you drive your vehicle and that's why it's important that you know your technician. Here we take the time to understand your specific needs and what your driving habits are as not everyone's is the same. Talk to our team here at Owen Automotive in Oakland, TN and we will be glad to answer all of your questions or get your vehicle taken care of....after all it's what we do every day!
Thank you for visiting Owen Automotive in Somerville, TN. Count on our automotive repair technicians to keep your car, truck, suv, or van on the roads longer and safer.