DIY Auto Maintenance and Servicing Tips

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Why You Can't Afford to Wait If Your Car Develops a Power Steering Issue

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Most Australians spend a good deal of time driving their car on a daily basis, mainly back and forth to work and as a consequence become used to the way that it behaves. They're used to the various noises that will emanate as they drive along, and quickly become concerned if a strange sound suddenly materialises. Some of these noises warrant urgent investigation, especially if you happen to hear a whining noise whenever you move the steering wheel in a particular direction. Why should you be worried about this and what should you be doing?

Trouble Ahead

The whining noise here is an indication that you have developing problems related to your power steering. A number of issues could be to blame, including fluid levels that need attention in this particular system.

Time to Investigate

Pull over to the side of the road, get out and have a look beneath the car on the driver's side, toward the front. Locate the end of the steering rack, where it connects to the wheel itself. This will be protected by a rubber boot and some clamps and you should look to see any evidence of fluid in or around this area. Now, have a look under the bonnet in the same general area for the power steering pump. Check for leaks.

What to Check for

When power steering fluid leaks, it tends to have a distinctive smell of burning and will also be either brown or orange in colour. If the fluid seems to be coming from the first place that you checked at the end of the rubber boot, then the entire steering rack could be on the way out and you may need to replace it. On the other hand, if the leak is beneath the power steering pump this may only indicate that the seals have failed and need replacing.

What's at Risk

There is a good reason why you should check this as soon as you possibly can. If the leak develops so much that the fluid level is seriously depleted, the whole system could lock in place. This would be very dangerous if you happened to be driving around a turn at some speed. Such an event could also cause other components to break, including the water pump and alternator. This can all lead to an expensive bill.

Taking Action

If you suspect a problem, or may have noticed some leakage as previously described, then you need to go to your mechanic as soon as possible. They will also be able to replace the fluid to its correct level.