August 17, 2020
Nobody, and I mean nobody, likes it when their car squeals. It’s scary. It’s embarrassing. And, it means your car might need to go to the doctor.
If you’re hearing a whining noise when you turn your steering wheel, you most likely have an issue with your car’s power steering system.
The power steering system helps you turn the car’s steering wheel. It’s a complex system that delivers power to the steering mechanism so it’s easier to drive. Imagine if we didn’t have steering assistance. The effort to turn the wheel would be exhausting!
Like most of the systems in a vehicle, the power steering system relies on special fluid to keep it functioning smoothly. When that fluid is compromised, it causes issues with the system.
If you’re hearing a squealing, whining, or grinding noise it can indicate that you have low power steering fluid OR the fluid is dirty and contaminated OR… both. Any of these cases means the power steering rack isn’t going to be functioning as smoothly as it should.
How do you fix the problem? Well, it could be as simple as topping off your power steering reservoir. Or, in more complicated scenarios, you could have a leaking line or damaged part that needs to be replaced. As always, when in doubt, turn to your trusted mechanic if you aren’t sure what the issue may be or how to correct it.
Okay, time for a little history lesson. Cars used to have mechanical power steering racks. These types of systems had an easier-to-service hydraulic power steering pump filled with fluid. This model is becoming less common as more and more manufacturers are installing electric power steering systems in vehicles.
While there are benefits to electric power steering systems (like helping with fuel efficiency), there are also drawbacks. Some electric power steering systems don’t have fluid, but the ones that do can be serviced. These systems are much harder to work on and they’re more expensive to service or replace if and when the time comes to do so.
So, what’s the best way to avoid an issue with this system? Drumroll please… preventive maintenance! Abiding by your dealership or shop recommendation for servicing the power steering fluid is a big step in keeping that system healthy and long-lasting.
For more helpful tips and tricks on maintaining your automobiles or frequently asked questions; stay tuned and stay in contact!
Until next time, stay safe, and protect your investments!
By Jon Hansen
Central Kansas Territory Manager, Kansas BG
Jon works with dealerships as well as independent garages of all types and sizes. He has almost 13 years of technician experience before starting his BG career. In addition to BG, Jon does freelance writing and photography for multiple magazines on newsstands including Street Trucks Magazine, C10 Builders Magazine, and Tread Magazine.