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What’s Wrong with My Car’s Power Steering?

What’s Wrong with My Car’s Power Steering?

When your car doesn’t run the way it’s supposed to, it can send your world into chaos.  If the mechanic says “It’s the power steering on the car,” you might be quickly searching the Internet to find out what that even means!

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


We’ve been there.  It isn’t fun when something on your car doesn’t work, especially if you don’t know a lot about cars.

Help is on the way.  This blog post will impart some information, fun facts, cost estimates, and wisdom to inspire your power steering car repair strategy.

Even if you’re just car power steering curious, you’ll be sure to find something you didn’t know (unless you’re a bona fide mechanic!).

Questions about Car Power Steering

When it comes to car power steering, you’ve probably got plenty of questions.  There is a lot to learn in a short amount of time if this is a power steering emergency.

This article is informative in nature, addressing some of following questions:

  • Can You Drive a Car Without Power Steering?
  • How Do You Know When Your Car Needs Power Steering Repair?
  • What are the Signs that Power Steering is Going Out on a Car?
  • What Do You Do When Power Steering Goes Out?
  • What Does the Power Steering Light on my Dashboard?
  • Can I Drive my Car with Bad Power Steering?
  • How Much does Car Power Steering Repair Cost?

To learn a concept is to study it.  To master it is to practice it.  To put it another way, experience is the best teacher.  

If you’re already dealing with power steering problems on your car, then you’re about to get a good lesson on all there is to know about the issue.

Power Steering on a Car: A Definition

Before answering all of the burning questions about power steering, definitions are in order.  You have to know what you’re talking about if you’re going to deal with the power steering problem head on.

In the old days, cars used to be difficult to steer.  Imagine your grandma with the upper-body strength to turn a whole vehicle without power steering assistance.  That was until power steering came into the picture, making turning the steering wheel a lot easier.

In the car, there is something called a “steering mechanism.”  It turns the car. The power steering basically gives it a boost so the driver does less work!  If the power steering goes out, the wheel becomes hard to turn.  

Power steering systems are relatively new technology, at least compared to other parts of the car.

Power steering can be powered by hydraulic or electric forces.  The technology is fairly complex, so we’ll spare the details here.  If you’re interested, you could read all about it at the library or on the Internet.

In trucks and other large vehicles, the setup is generally different.   The mechanism isn’t the same set up because the machinery is so large.

Can You Drive a Car Without Power Steering?

How long can I drive a car without power steering, you might be asking yourself.  The answer is not long, unfortunately. 

The power steering needs to be thought of as a system.  If one little piece breaks, the whole thing breaks.  Call a tow.  Send it to a shop.  Send it to the junkyard even.  They often pay cash for your used car!  Driving it is not recommended.

For example, if you have a power steering problem because the fluid is leaking.  You drive the car until the fluid runs out.  The steering becomes hard to maneuver.  Then, you decided to keep driving.  All the seals and pieces that make this technology work are going to break down.  

That means a more costly repair!  What people don’t tell you about driving an old car is that what you save in car payments can often burn through your pocket in car repair bills and tow truck fees.  If you’re fed up with reading blogs about car repairs, maybe it’s time to send that old car to the junk yard.

At the end of the day, the verdict is clear: Do not drive your car around town if the power steering is out.  Take it to a mechanic or send it to the junkyard.

How Do You Know When Your Car Needs Power Steering Repair?

If something feels off when you’re driving your car, and its in the steering wheel, you might have a power steering problem on your hands.  The only way to know for sure is to visit a mechanic.  You shouldn’t try to assess your mechanical problems on your own without professional knowledge.

There are plenty of ways to know that the power steering is acting up.  For example, you might find it hard to turn the steering wheel.  This could happen for a variety of reasons; however, it’s often low power steering fluid that’s the culprit.

What are the Signs that Power Steering is Going Out on a Car?

What’s that noise?  It might be the power steering on your car. If you hear something when you whip that car around the corner, something is not good over the hood – the steering is acting up.  

Stains are a nightmare that could mean power steering issues ahead!  Did you ever park your car in your friend’s driveway to have them tell you next time park in the street because your car is leaking something?  

How embarrassing.

What’s the leak anyway?  If it isn’t oil, coolant, or gasoline, it could be power steering fluid.  A little power steering fluid under the car isn’t normal.  Be prepared to a call a tow truck!

What Do You Do When Power Steering Goes Out?

They should give drivers lessons in car repair at school because most don’t know the first thing about a car’s power steering system.  Some do – of course, they’re usually mechanics or have one in the family.

If you’re not prepared for car problems while the car is in motion, you could be putting yourself, riders, drivers, and pedestrians in danger.  

In fact, insurance companies and legal systems generally don’t excuse traffic violations because your car is broken.   It’s your legal responsibility to keep it in good repair.

What do you if your car brakes go out while your driving?  

Use the e-break (emergency break), of course!  Everybody knows that!

What do if your power steering goes out?  Uh… wait, that can go out?  

Rule number one is to stay focused.  Use the horn and hazards to alert everybody on the road that you’re having an emergency.  Carefully work your way over to the side of the road where you can safely park your car.  

The steering won’t be easy, so no sudden movements to ensure nobody gets hurt.  Another word to the wise: easy on those brakes! 

You can try turning the car off and on.  Sometimes the problem is a computer glitch, and that solves the problem for the moment.  If it happens more than once, talk to a mechanic.  If you’re nervous about it even after the first time, talk to the mechanic.  It’s better safe than sorry!

If you can’t get the car to engage the power steering system, then you need to take that car to a mechanic.  If the car’s already on its last leg, you might consider this a sign that it’s time to call one of those tow trucks places that give cash for the car.  

Once you get the vehicle stopped, turn the engine off and then on again. If the wheel seems like it can turn without any extra work, you can try driving to a mechanic; if you cannot steer like normal then you may wish to call for a tow truck.

What Does the Power Steering Light on my Dashboard?

Imagine you’re driving your car on a sunny day, and all of the sudden, flashing light on the dashboard… is that the car power steering light? Yes, it is!

The light warns that there is a fault in the system.  Then the computer basically ensures it won’t power up again until it’s fixed, trying to reduce damage, not make your life harder.

If you haven’t done this in the past, and you can’t imagine what that light would even look like on your own vehicle, then you need to take a gander at that old user manual sitting in the glove box.  It’s got all the useful information you need about power steering lights and how to add power steering fluid.

You cannot disregard this warning light.  Today’s cars basically demand immediate service when something goes wrong.  Old cars, on the other hand, might left you “do it manually,” but the damage is often irreversible. 

In fact, if you are driving an old car with a power steering problem not resolved with a quick power steering fluid refill, you might consider junking that old car altogether!

The power steering light probably looks like a big flashing warning.  The color of the signal could be red, yellow, orange, or white.  If you have a car with a touchscreen, the warning might appear there instead.  

Learn how your car operates to know where warnings are and how they look.

You might also see the acronym EPS which means electric power steering.  

Sometimes the power steering light doesn’t mean the car isn’t drivable.  It means you drive without power steering assistance.  

Can I Drive my Car with Bad Power Steering?

The word on driving your car with bad power steering, from mechanics, varies on whether this is a good or bad idea. Ask your mechanic about your specific car (make, model, and year).

Some sources say yes – it’s just the power assistance that turns off.  Others say no- you could do more damage if the first situation isn’t the case!

How Much does Car Power Steering Repair Cost?

When you are facing a car power steering repair, the first question you might ask is “How much is this going to cost?”

The answer is $10 to $1000.00.  Now, the good news is that the most advanced repairs aren’t all too common in most vehicles.  That being said, older cars are more likely to face power steering pump problems, and the costlier ones, because of their age.

Obviously saving money in car repair is only an option if you know how to do the work yourself or are very chummy with one.  A quick power steering hose change is no big deal. Something more difficult to repair may cost you a pretty penny.

Parts corrode overtime.  Cars just simply aren’t built to last forever.  Old cars break down again and again and again until you give up!  Then, it’s time to call a tow truck to haul the car off.  If you go down that route, because of bad power steering, be sure to look for a place that offers cash for the car.

Your car is important, however.  It’s an investment in some ways.  Without it, how would you get to work?  How will you take the kids to school in the morning?  You need it to get through the day, so be smart about the repairs.

If you’re paying full price, something like repairing the power steering pump may run a few hundred bucks.  Repairing the power steering rack and pinion could run you a cool grand.

The Vinal Verdict on Car Power Steering

Car Power Steering technology is cool, for starters.  The idea that our human ancestors didn’t drive power steering is overwhelming. Imagine the bulk, strength, and focus it took to do all that work while driving.  They made it look easy!

Today, however, car power steering systems are more sophisticated than ever. We’re talking electronic and hydraulic options here.  Even though it’s amazing where technology is taking us, it does mean the repairs become trickier as time pushes forward.

If your car’s power steering light is on, don’t wait around or try to muscle through it.  

We know you want those killer biceps, but it isn’t safe to drive a vehicle that needs work, especially power steering repair!