Most drivers love how easy it is to turn their vehicles, and they have power steering to thank. Engineers have figured out a way to take some of your engine's power to help you turn. Without it, steering can be quite a chore. New power systems are electric, but there are still plenty of the older hydraulic power steering systems out there, and it's wise to keep them working the way they should so you don't find yourself stranded without power steering.
Those hydraulic power systems use a fluid under pressure that is pumped to a device that helps you turn your wheels more easily. It's that pressure that presents the challenge. After your vehicle's seen a few years on the road, you may find your steering isn't quite as easy as it was. You may hear a groaning or humming sound when you turn.
One component that can fail is the pressure hose that carries that fluid from the power steering pump to that turning assist mechanism. The hose is made of rubber and can leak, crack, get damaged by heat and debris or just get too old. If yours is ten years old or older, it's likely getting close to the end of its life.
If you think you can just wait until it fails completely, think of these possible consequences. If the hose or a coupling fails, power steering fluid can blow all over the hot engine. That fluid is flammable and can start a fire. Or if you've been driving for a few weeks with low power steering fluid, that could ruin your power steering pump. Replacing the pump is an extra expense you can probably live without.
A technician will replace the necessary parts and make sure air and contaminants are bled or flushed from the system. Then, he or she will check for leaks. Just think how important a properly working power steering system is for safe operation of your vehicle. Make sure you keep yours in top shape for your safety's sake and the safety of others on the road around you.
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