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What You Need to Know: Learn How to Fix Power Steering Fluid Leaks

Power steering is a typical system used in our vehicles to transmit great force with minimal effort. You can do this by changing or tinkering with the steering wheel’s mechanism. Often, you may do this through hydraulics or an actuator.

power steering fluid leaks

Photo Source: https://mercedessource.com/problems/engine/checking-slow-power-steering-fluid-leaks

This kind of system also relies on a lot of fluid, which is why it’s prone to leaks. So for today, we’ll focus on ways to track and fix power steering fluid leaks. Besides that, we’ll also learn how to fix it. Stick around for more!

Power Steering 101

Just to avoid any confusion, it’s crucial for us to know a thing or two about power steering. Sure, it’s a system that lessens the steering effort for the driver. However, the nitty-gritty details are not as simple as that.

While we’re not going to discuss all, we’re going to focus on one aspect that’s crucial to our topic. This factor is the hydraulic fluid.

For the power steering system to reduce effort, it has to have compression. This compression is what initiates an increase in mechanical or hydraulic force. That’s why when we turn the steering wheel, it looks natural. Even though we’re setting large tires that weigh a lot.

That is where the hydraulic system comes into play. Hydraulic systems work by multiplying force through a pump called a gerotor. That is run by your vehicle’s engine and is responsible for coordinating with a cylinder that then applies the power to the steering gear.

While that’s the overarching framework, the real mover here is the fluid inside. Then, fluid inside is the one getting compressed. Since it’s compressed and pressurized, it’s able to transmit pressure in multiple levels. That is called the hydraulic fluid, or the working fluid for that matter.

Causes of Power Steering Leaks

Now you know how vital the fluid is in your power steering system. Without it, you’ll lose a lot of leverage in steering your vehicle. You’ll immediately something is wrong when the power steering isn’t so powerful anymore!

With that said, here are some of the things you’ll need to look out for which causes these leaks:

  • Mileage

Your car’s mileage is perhaps one of its harshest enemies. Not only for the power steering but for primarily every component. Leaks can happen in the power steering when the O-rings and sealants start to brittle.

This brittleness will eventually wear out the rings until it’s just a rubber junk. Without these sealants, leaks are bound to happen!

  • Power steering reservoir

The power steering reservoir is where you place the fluids when doing a maintenance check. That is the container in the engine that’s translucent and has the marks “Min” and “Max”.

power steering reservoir leaking

Photo: https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/power-steering-reservoir-leaking.820936/

The fluid must be within the range of these two marks. Now, if it’s way above the “Max” label, it means it’s already overfilling. An overfilled reservoir will mean leaks right away.

  • Power steering pump

The power steering pump is an active component of this system. That’s why it can exert a little too much force on its casing. Hence, this energy can create cracks in the housing, causing leaks to happen!

  • Cracked hoses

Your vehicle’s power steering has its own set of hoses. Fluid travels here too, and so the cracks on it may cause leaks. These breaks usually happen if the tubes are misplaced.

Misplaced or misaligned hoses usually make contact with vibrating components of the car. Thus, these vibrations cause it to wear down. Besides misalignment, it’s also possible that this just due to the age of your vehicle.

Things You’ll Need When Fixing It

  • Carjack stands
  • Crocodile or floor jack
  • Power steering stop leak
  • Ratchet and screwdrivers
  • New power steering hose

How to Fix Power Steering Fluid Leaks

Step 1: Check the power steering reservoir first

While the causes are few, it’s still important to be sure what’s exactly wrong with your vehicle. Sometimes, power steering leaks can disguise itself as engine oil leaks. Those are two different things that you should take note.

The best way to do this is to check if the power steering reservoir is reducing at a reasonable pace. If it’s well below the minimum level, then that’s a definite sign it’s leaking.

Step 2: Jack up your car

Step 3 will require you to inspect the steering column that’s hard to check if your car jacks. Thus, park your car, get a crocodile jack, and place sturdy jack stands beneath your vehicle.

jack stands up a car

Be sure that you know the proper steps of jacking a car before you proceed any further.

Step 3: Check the power steering hoses, pump, and casing

Next will be locating these three components. You can usually notice them at the bottom of the engine bay just around the steering column. Once found, do a quick rundown of any cracks or external damages. Moreover, check where the leaks originate.

Check the power steering hoses, pump, and casing

Source: http://www.preludepower.com/forums/showthread.php?t=350098

Step 4: Replace and tighten

Should you find damages, it’s important to treat it properly. If there are cracked hoses, be sure to replace them. If the leaks are coming from the pump, tighten the nuts with a ratchet.

Step 5: Reseal the sealants

You don’t need to replace the O-rings or the gaskets to seal any broken rubber. You can, instead, buy a credible stop leak liquid sealant. You just have to pour the sealants into the power steering reservoir along with the fluid.

Then, it simply goes through the lines, pump, and hoses, and it patches up the torn sealants. Good as new!

That’s a Wrap

The difficulty of tracking and fixing power steering leaks is not that difficult. However, it will still require necessary work and effort. Nonetheless, every car owner should at least know how to do a maintenance check on the power steering system.

By doing so, you’ll eliminate the possibility of a small problem creating larger ones. Thus, always take care of your vehicle! If you found this informative, don’t hesitate to comment your thoughts below. Good luck!

Steven K. Galloway