When you drive your vehicle, you may not notice the small but important things. Power steering is one of these things. Power steering helps the driver turn a vehicle by assisting effort of the steering wheel. Hydraulic or electric actuators add controlled energy to the steering mechanism, so the driver needs to provide only modest effort regardless of conditions. The benefit of power steering is much greater when the vehicle is stopped or moving slowly. If you notice that your vehicle is becoming difficult to turn or maneuver, it could indicate an issue with the power steering. Make sure to schedule an appointment so you can bring the vehicle in for an inspection. This can help provide you and your passengers with a safe ride.
History of Power Steering
The first power steering systems were developed in the early 1900’s. As trucks began to grow larger many manufacturers began exploring how steering could be made easier. In 1926, Francis Davis invented and demonstrated the first practical power steering system. He joined General Motors and refined the hydraulic-assisted power steering system, but they decided it would be too expensive to add to their vehicles. It was not until the early 1950’s before power steering was added to commercially available passenger vehicles. These systems were based on some of Davis’ expired patents. Most of today’s vehicles have power steering. Front wheel drive, large SUV’s, and wider tires all increase the required steering effort and the need for power steering.
Keep the Power Steering System Turning
Most power steering systems work by using a hydraulic system to steer the vehicle’s wheels. A power steering pump driven by the engine usually provides the hydraulic pressure for the operation of the system. The power steering fluid cleans, cools, and lubricates the power steering pump and system. Like any fluid it breaks down over time and becomes less effective. So, the better you maintain your fluids, the longer the parts will last. You can also bring the vehicle in and we can inspect the fluid levels for you.
When Should Power Steering Fluid Be Changed
Every person has different driving habits, types of vehicles, and travel areas. Because of this, there is not a set schedule when power steering maintenance should be completed. If the fluid is dirty or dark it is probably time to change it. If it is extremely dark or gritty the system may need flushed. This grittiness can cause damage to the pump. If the fluid is low you may need to look for leaks. If there are no leaks than it may be time to flush the system as well. As a general rule, the fluid should be changed every two years. Many premature failures to this system are preventable. Without proper maintenance the power steering pump could get ruined. This unexpected bill could be costly. Having the vehicle maintained can help provide you with a reliable vehicle in the future. It will allow you to drive with the best safety possible.