Power steering didn’t come standard with new cars until the 1970s. Drivers had to use a lot of muscle to turn the wheels. Steering wheels were much larger, to give the driver more leverage. It was difficult to make 90-degree turns or to maneuver in a crowded parking lot. Power steering makes turning cars much easier. Considering the size of some pickup trucks or SUVs, you shouldn’t take the power steering system for granted. Here’s what to know about power steering pump replacement.
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Function of the Power Steering Pump
Although some cars are switching to an electronic power steering systems, the prevailing type of power steering is hydraulic. In a hydraulic system, a pump and pressurized hydraulic fluid helps the driver turn the wheels. This system makes it easier to steer the car, especially when moving slower. Driver response time is improved. You get a smoother ride. The power steering pump is a key component of this system as it maintains the pressure. But the pump continually runs when you’re driving, whether you’re going straight or turning. If the pump stops working, it can create a leak in the system. Technically, you can drive a car without the power steering pump, but it is not recommended. It can be illegal to drive without power steering.
When Do You Replace The Power Steering Pump?
The power steering pump can last up to 200,000 miles, so most people don’t have to ever think about replacing the power steering pump. It’s usually the belts or other components of the system that wear out. Here are some signs that the pump or another part of the power steering system is wearing out:
- Whining or squealing when the steering wheel is turned.
- The steering wheel is hard to turn.
- You may also notice fluid leaking under the car.
- The steering may be inconsistent. There may some slack from when you turn the steering wheel to when the car wheels turn.
It is unsafe to drive without power steering. If you notice that your power steering system isn’t acting right, pull over and park. Have the car towed to your mechanic or to your garage until you can get it fixed. If you’re concerned about the car suspension replacement cost, buy parts yourself to avoid an upcharge at the mechanic. Choose the automotive parts that fit your budget.
Upgrading the Power Steering System
For drivers with reduced strength or who want advanced power steering, there are ways to upgrade the power steering system. This type of installment should be handled by a trained mechanic, even though you can purchase the parts yourself to adapt your vehicle. Once you upgrade the power steering, it will become normal to you. If another driver uses your car, it will seem abnormal. Use caution when loaning out your vehicle. Shop for all the parts you need to maintain your vehicle. You’ll find that the brake pads replacement cost will be much easier on your wallet when you select the ones that fit your needs.
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