Modern cars come equipped with a power steering system to make driving at low speeds a breeze. While some make use of electric steering assist, the bulk of cars on the road today use a hydraulic oil to provide power assist when you turn the steering wheel. Like with any fluid under your hood, your power steering fluid needs to be at the right level to function properly. There are several symptoms of a power steering leak you can watch out for as a hint that your system needs attention:
- Low fluid level: Most people check their oil and coolant level frequently, but they forget to check their power steering fluid level. However, it is critical to safe steering and the longevity of your power steering rack. Driving your car with low or missing power steering fluid can result in costly repairs. Your power steering reservoir is equipped with a level indicator, so be sure to check it from time to time. Since your power steering system is sealed, missing fluid means there’s a leak somewhere.
- Leaking fluid: It can be tempting to ignore a few drops of oil under your car. You might assume it comes from an oil change or oil level check, but it’s always important to try and identify the type of oil and source of the leak. Wipe down your power steering reservoir and lines as well as possible and check frequently for new traces of leaking oil. Many of the oils under your hood appear the same color, so look closely at your reservoir and lines to determine if it’s coming from your power steering circuit or not.
- A squealing noise: Older cars are especially susceptible to ‘power steering squeal’ when the fluid level gets low. It can vary from an occasional chirp to a shrill, eardrum-popping shriek, especially during low-speed maneuvers when parking. Other times it will be more of a dull whine when you have your steering wheel turned all the way left or right. In all cases, this means your power steering fluid is getting low, and you need to top up your fluid and stop the leak, wherever it is.
- Decreased steering performance: At this point, it means your power steering fluid is dangerously low. You might not notice much steering performance difference on the highway, but in town and when parking, you’ll have to put in a lot more effort to turn your steering wheel. You risk damaging your steering fluid rack if you operate your vehicle at this stage, so make sure you get off the road and parked safely as soon as possible. Often this means you have a moderate power steering fluid leak that needs attention.
Once you’ve detected your power steering fluid leak, the repair is simple. Choose one of our Bar’s Leak power steering products and get back on the road in just a few minutes:
- One Seal Stop Leak: Our popular solution for all under-hood oil leaks, including power steering fluid
- Power Steering Repair: Formulated specifically for your vehicle’s power steering system
- Power Steering Stop Leak Concentrate: The powerful, concentrated way to stop your leak fast
You don’t need automotive expertise. You just need a bottle of one of our proven leak seal products. Trust Bar’s Leaks for all of your under-hood oil and fluid leak concerns!