Power steering is an essential safety and convenience feature all modern cars have. If you’ve ever driven a car without power steering you are well aware of all the benefits power steering offers you. It makes it easier to maneuver the car while also making your car safer because you can react fast and correctly.
The power steering system needs to be dependable, if not, you are at great risk of having an accident. As such, you need to properly pinpoint the very reasons why you are losing power fluid. It might be because your steering system hoses and seals are worn out or it could be because you are using the wrong fluid.
The steering wheel fluid pump can also cause power steering leaks. If you overfill your steering wheel fluid you are also going to cause leaks. Finally, be sure to check your steering wheel fluid for cracks and damages as this is often the most common culprit for repetitive power steering system leaks.
All in all, the best thing you can do is take your car to an experienced repair shop because ignoring these issues can cause your power steering to completely stop working. This is not something you want because this can cause all sorts of additional issues while also making the car more difficult to drive.
Your power steering hoses and seals are worn out
Many factors affect how well your power steering operates. The power steering system usually endures high pressure, temperature variations, all sorts of external elements such as humidity, heat, cold, corrosion, and even normal use.
This means that the hoses and seals are bound to wear out over time and cause power steering leaks. Be that as it may, most power steering systems are made to last a long time. You generally should not worry about your power steering system for at least 60k miles if everything works as it should.
You are using the wrong power steering fluid mixture
Not all power steering systems are the same which means that not all of them use the same type of lubrication. Some of them use silicone-based fluids while others depend on synthetic automatic transmission fluids.
The right type of mixture is essential if you want your power system to work adequately. The power steering pump depends on the fluid itself, so if you are using the wrong type of fluid you can cause much more issues in the long run. The wrong mixture can also cause corrosion which is not something you want on your car.
Faulty power steering system pump
If your power steering fluid levels are not topped out accordingly, they can cause lots of havoc on the power steering system. More precisely, if your fluid levels are low, your power steering pump is likely going to have to work a lot harder to keep the fluid circulating through the system.
So if you top up your power steering wheel fluid and the leaks are persisting, it often means that your power steering pump is to blame. Be sure to listen to whining sounds while turning the steering wheel as this is a common symptom of a faulty steering wheel pump.
Overfilling the power steering reservoir
This reason is rather self-explanatory because the system is designed to work with a specific amount of power steering fluid. If you overfilled the reservoir you are likely going to increase the wear and tear of all the hoses and seals because they need to endure a lot more liquid than they otherwise need to.
This can be fixed easily by simply double-checking the reservoir and making sure that the fluid levels are on an adequate level.
Your power steering reservoir is cracked or damaged
The power steering reservoir is susceptible to all sorts of external factors such as high temperature, dirt, stone chips, ice, and so on. This means that the reservoir itself can get damaged fairly easily, and if that is truly the case, it is bound to cause power steering system leaks.
The reservoir is designed with two hoses attached to it called the send hose and the return hose. These are the two most common places where leaks occur because the reservoir itself is usually made out of rugged materials such as aluminum.
How much does it cost to repair a power steering leak?
It depends on what needs replacing/repairing, but on average you are looking at anywhere between $50 to $200. If you need to replace the hoses, you should be looking at around $80-150 with the labor included. Another important factor to keep in mind is where the leak is located.
If reaching the leak takes considerable work like removing all sorts of nearby components, repair jobs such as these can cost a lot more than just $200. Either way, it’s best to fix the issue rather than wait for your entire power steering system to die.
Can you drive a car with a power steering leak?
You technically can drive the car with a power steering system leak. You can even drive the car without a power steering system in general, but both of these are not something you should be doing. Because the power steering system relies on a bunch of hoses, a pump, and a reservoir to work as intended, if you drive the car, you are risking causing all sorts of additional issues.
It’s never a good idea to not know if your power steering is about to die or not, especially because there is no way how you can properly gauge when the system is about to fail.
How to fix a power steering leak?
Most leaks are caused by worn-out components which means that you can fix the issue simply by replacing a hose, a seal, or a pressure valve. However, fixing a power steering system can sometimes be a lot more difficult which means that you should take your car to an experienced mechanic.
If the seals are broken, it can often mean that you need to replace everything and these types of repair jobs require lots of skill and precision, especially if you want to fix the issue forever.