Power steering exists in order to make it easier for drivers to steer their vehicles. The power steering system is hydraulic and makes use of power steering fluid to create pressure, which is the force that turns your Toyota’s wheels. Without power steering, it would require a large amount of physical effort to direct the vehicle in the direction you wish to go.
When power steering starts to fail (or if the fluid level drops), it becomes much more difficult to direct your car around corners, which in turn can impact your safety. While it is not always easy to pinpoint just what is wrong with the power steering, there are a few common issues that you can check for after reading over this handy guide from the friendly mechanics here at Westbury Toyota.
This is something that will most likely be encountered in older Toyotas. Age wears down all parts of a car, and the power steering pump is no exception. The internal workings and seals in particular will wear with wage, resulting in a noticeable loss in power steering fluid pressure. An indicator of a failing pump is squealing sounds and increased difficulty when turning.
Power steering fluid is specifically tailored to provide the hydraulics needed to turn your vehicle. If there is any leak whatsoever in the system, it becomes much harder for the required pressure to build. Without adequate pressure in the system, cornering with your Toyota can be very hard, if not impossible, to do. A leak in the system is easy to spot – you will be able to see the fluid dripping down. A leak may also be indicated by a jarring grinding noise whenever you take a corner. A leak should be addressed as quickly as possible, as running out of fluid completely can actually lead to the destruction of the power steering pump.
The power steering pump has a drive belt, and it is not uncommon to hear of the belt slipping off. Should that happen, it will be impossible to steer your car in any direction, as the lack of power from the belt will lead to a massive loss in power steering fluid pressure. Issues with the drive belt are typically accompanied by a loud squealing sound whenever you go into a sharp turn.
This is another problem usually seen in older Toyotas. As we explained in the section about pump failure, all vehicle parts will wear down over time. This is particularly true if you use your vehicle on a daily basis, as all those parts are under near-perpetual stress. The hoses in the power steering system might stiffen and harden as time goes on, resulting in cracks. The proximity of the hoses to other working parts in the engine can also contribute to this kind of wear. Cracks or holes in the hoses will gradually leak power steering fluid, so if you are aware that one is leaking, it is imperative to get it fixed as soon as possible.
Hose couplings are just as susceptible to wear and tear as the hoses themselves. The couplings, which join the hoses together, will start leaking fluid if they become loose. An excess in vibrations and bumps while driving can hasten this occurrence, though the pressure in the power steering system can also be a contributing factor.
If you suspect there is an issue with your Toyota’s power steering and have been able to pinpoint the issue by using this guide, be sure to get the problem fixed as quickly as you can by scheduling an appointment at our service center. Leaving it alone can result in further damage and costly repairs, and our experienced technicians will be able to swiftly get your power steering system back into order, so why wait any longer?