If you’ve ever driven a vehicle without power steering, you know just how important it is to maneuvering your vehicle with ease. Without it, it takes much more strength and exertion to turn your vehicle in any direction.
This is an issue with your vehicle that can seriously affect your car’s handling, which can be a liability to yourself and others on the road. If you cannot properly steer, you should not be on the road. This is a safety hazard.
The History of Power Steering
This innovation takes the pressure off the driver’s physical strength to turn the vehicle and helps distribute that to the steering system, making driving a less taxing and more enjoyable experience overall. Pre 1950, car weren’t equipped with powered steering and relied on drivers strength to turn.
While the technology was used here and there decades earlier, powered steering didn’t take hold in American vehicles until 1951, when Chrysler introduced power steering in one of their vehicles. Competitors quickly followed suit, securing a foothold in the automotive industry. Before then, powered steering was utilized during World War II, when vehicle manufactures realized that large-scale war vehicles would require powered steering in order for troops to effectively maneuver them on the battlefield.
Before then, it was nothing but muscle. If you have ever had to maneuver a vehicle that doesn’t have a little electronic assistance for steering, you will know that it is almost impossible to achieve accurate turning. It’s not impossible, but it’s certainly not safe in vehicles where this was not meant to be the case. There are still plenty of vehicles on the road that do not have power steering – although they are becoming more scarce – but these vehicles were designed this way and typically have less resistance than a vehicle that simply has a faulty, malfunctioning or otherwise broken steering pump.
How Power Steering Works
Powered steering works by shifting the force the driver exerts onto the car’s steering system instead of the vehicle itself.
Electrically-powered steering and hydraulic-powered steering are two of the most common types of powered steering in use in modern vehicles.
Every vehicle has a unique system, so be sure to check with the manufacturer if you are wanting a certain type of steering system for your vehicle purchase.
What Causes Power Steering Loss
In most cases, steering failure is an issue with the steering fluid. Low fluid levels can cause this issue, but there are other reasons besides a leak, such as corrosion within the hydraulic system.
Identifying the cause of a loss in steering is key to fixing the issue. If there is a leak in your power steering reservoir, replenishing your fluid levels will only get you so far, since your fluid will still drain more quickly than it should.
Signs of Power Steering Loss
The clearest sign of powered steering loss is a sudden increase in maneuverability. Your power steering lightens the load, so you’re not having to steering and fight against the weight of the vehicle. When power steering fails, it will become much harder to turn your wheel without significantly more difficulty and resistance.
Another sign of power steering failure is a squealing sound when the wheel is being turned, or a grinding sound when starting up your vehicle. This signals a burned out fuel pump.
Power Steering Repair in Seattle, WA
If you’re concerned about your power steering it’s important to come see a mechanic as soon as possible. If you’re looking for power steering you can trust in Seattle, come to Superior Auto Service. Request an appointment or get a quote today!
Related Reading: How Does Power Steering Work?