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Diagnosing Power Steering Trouble

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When your car's power steering pump starts whining when you start the ignition or turn the wheel, that's a sign that the pump is failing or your car is low on power steering fluid. Here are a few tips to help you not only identify the source of the problem and possibly fix it, but also recognize when it is time to visit your local auto repair shop.

Check The Fluid

The most common reason for whining in your power steering pump, especially if steering is becoming more difficult, is low power steering fluid. That's why it's the first thing that you should check. Make sure that the power steering fluid is full to the proper level. While you're checking it, inspect it for clarity and cleanliness. There shouldn't be any particles in it, and it should be clear, not cloudy. If it looks odd or it smells burnt, that means you need to have the pump replaced and the fluid flushed.

Inspect The Lines

If you're low on fluid, that means there's a leak somewhere. To find the source of the problem, you'll need to look at each of the lines that are connected to the power steering pump and the steering box. Make sure that all of the clamps are tight, and the lines secure. Test the tightening screws on each clamp as a way to be sure that they're tight. Tug on the lines gently to be sure that they are on the nipple and secure.

While you're at it, follow each line completely from end to end to be sure that they are all in good condition. There shouldn't be any wear or damage on the lines. If you can see visible wear, cracks, holes, or other damage, you should have those lines replaced. You can take the car to an auto repair shop for the replacement, or you can do it yourself if you want. In fact, you can even replace the connections with pressure fittings to help reduce the risk of having the lines come loose due to the pressure in the system.

Examine The Pump

Finally, you should check the power steering pump itself. Look for any signs of damage to the pump. Make sure that the mounting bolts are secure, and the pump is running the way that it should. If the pump appears cracked or damaged, or it's not responding the way that it should, that's a key indication that it's time to have it replaced. Your local auto repair shop can help you with the replacement.

To learn more, visit a website like Joy  Automotive Products Inc