4 major signs you’re low on steering fluid

26 November 2018 / Lindleys Autocentres

Mostly featured in modern cars, power steering is a function that allows drivers to move the vehicle with ease. Without it, it will be more difficult than necessary to turn the wheel around a sharp bend.

The way a power system works is through building up the pressure in the steering fluid when the steering wheel is moved.  This pressure then transmits to the hydraulic pump before transferring to the piston, which will move the wheels in the right direction.

 

Difficulty in turning the wheels

The most obvious yet important sign to see if you are low on steering fluid is if your wheels are difficult to turn. This can cause difficulties when driving and can be dangerous, especially if it happens abruptly when driving.

If you notice a visible difference in the way your steering wheel functions, we suggest you check the level of power steering fluid in your vehicle (located in the picture below). Failing to react appropriately, you may cause further problems with your vehicle. With that said, the low level of steering fluid could be due to a leak.

To find out if the low level of fluid is caused by a leak, check to see if the fluid has escaped through the hose. If a leak is present, replacing it with more fluid will only be a short-term fix. To prevent any further complications, getting your car checked by a professional will ensure your vehicle is in good condition.

 

Squealing noises

If you notice a squealing or whining noise whenever the wheels turn, there is a strong possibility that it is due to low power steering fluid. The power steering system uses a pump so the fluid can flow for smooth steering. If there is a low amount of fluid present, air will start to circulate through the steering mechanism and make strange sounds when you turn the steering wheel.

To prevent this, simply top up your fluid reservoir with power steering fluid. The noises should start to go away if there are no leaks.

 

Vibrating & jerky steering wheel

If you are in the middle of driving and notice your steering wheel starts to vibrate, you need to be extra cautious in order to keep full control over the vehicle. As you will need to work harder to make any turns at all, we suggest finding a safe location to park and instead call your breakdown service or if you’re in the Nottingham area, give us a call on 0115 727 0055 and we’ll be able to advise on the next steps.

Alternatively, if you notice your steering wheel jerks when you turn left or right, it indicates that you are low on power steering fluid. We stress that you do not leave this problem to escalate further and get it checked out as soon as you can.  

 

Leaking fluid

Mentioned above, a leaking power steering rack is one of the major signs of being low on power steering fluid. If you take the cap off of the reservoir and see no fluid inside at all, there is a high possibility there is a leak.

Toyota Advensis Power steering fluid reservoir

(Power steering fluid reservoir in a Toyota Avensis)

 

If you are finding it difficult to drive your vehicle properly as a result of any of these symptoms, it is best to get it to check at your local garage.

 

 

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