Why Is My Car Leaking Power Steering Fluid? (11 Reasons Why)

Power steering is essential to everyday driving, as anybody who has attempted to do so will attest.

Of course, driving becomes more straightforward, safer, and more relaxing for the driver and passengers when your automobile has power steering.

But, what will happen if there’s a power steering fluid leakage? Of course, you don’t want that to happen. So, let’s discover more about it in this post!

Why Is My Car Leaking Power Steering Fluid?

Power steering fluid leaks are relatively common, particularly among older cars. A power steering fluid leakage is frequently brought on by corrosion and aging-related system wear. Reasons include contaminated fluid, varying fluid levels, broken steering pump, and excessive force. This could also be because of power steering hoses and power steering pump leaks.

Learn more about why your car is leaking power steering fluid. Stay tuned because here are the 11 reasons why! Read on!

1. Contaminated Fluid

A hydraulic system employs the force of an object pushing against a liquid to move an object, which is how power steering works.

These devices may effectively manage your automobile since they can generate enormous forces with minimal energy input.

However, the hydraulic fluid must be free of contaminants for this harmonic system to function correctly.

Further, contaminated fluid can damage several parts, including your pump, by wearing down fittings, clogging the steering system, increasing friction, leakage, and more.

For this reason, you should replace the power steering fluid in your car at the manufacturer’s suggested interval, which may be found in the owner’s handbook.

2. Irregular Fluid Levels

Your vehicle’s power steering system requires a particular amount of fluid to flow through it effectively.

So, if the pressure builds up too high, your valves and seals may lose their integrity. If not enough, the fluid won’t be able to turn your automobile with the necessary force.

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While timely fluid replacement can help avoid this problem, any leaks could result in fluid loss and eventually cause power steering failure.

3. Power Steering Rack

The rack and the pinion steering rack is another name for the power steering rack. It is in charge of spinning the wheels on your car.

Of course, leakage happens due to the shaft and seals’ continual exposure to road grit and debris.

4. Broken Steering Pump

The critical element of your system is the power steering pump. You use a power steering pump whenever you turn your automobile while driving.

In addition, pumps are reasonably resilient, but they may and will ultimately lose their effectiveness. For example, a pump’s early failure might result from excessive strain.

Your pump may start to fail if you start to hear a lot of noise as you move the wheel.

5. Excessive Force

Power steering can resist less-than-ideal driving circumstances like potholes, sudden bumps, or forceful jolts hitting your wheels.

Further, your system isn’t waterproof, so keep that in mind. Finally, if exposed to excessive stress too soon, belts, pumps, and other steering system parts may fail.

Experts highly advise not to drive on rough roads unless you have a steering pump built in your car to manage such challenges, like a 4×4 or all-terrain SUV designed for off-road driving.

However, the excessive force could also cause your power steering fluid to leak, preventing you from turning your vehicle efficiently.

6. Power Steering Routine Maintenance

Power Steering Routine Maintenance

Contrary to popular belief, keeping your vehicle’s power steering system in good working order is simple.

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Additionally, you may reduce the abrupt stress and leakage on your system and ensure that it functions for many years by driving carefully and reliably.

Therefore, routine maintenance pays off in the long run like other parts of your car.

7. Wrong Power Steering Fluid

Different power steering systems utilize various hydraulic fluids. Of course, depending on the power steering pump and the volume of fluid it could pump, a fluid’s appropriateness for a system will vary.

As a result, using the incorrect fluid might expose the system to corrosion or dirt buildup. Or it could even target plastic, rubber, or seals, potentially causing them to leak.

8. Power Steering Pump Leakage

All functional components will experience increased stress if your vehicle’s power steering fluid falls below the critical level.

Power steering pumps require sufficient fluid to function; if they don’t receive adequate lubrication, they will rapidly wear out.

In addition, the pump’s internal parts, seals, and rubber sections will wear out over time if used continuously without fluid.

So, if the steering rack does not receive sufficient steering fluid, it is also vulnerable to additional wear and strain.

Therefore, if the fluid level is low, the steering wheel may whine when you spin it. Leaks are one of the earliest warning indications of a worn-out steering pump or rack before they finally fail.

9. Malfunctioning Power Steering Seals

Power steering parts will become worn out due to high hydraulic pressures, regular use, thermal stress, and environmental conditions, including humidity, cold, heat, and corrosion.

Frequently, rubber and seals will wear out first. Once that occurs, leaks will inevitably start to surface.

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A hydraulic power steering system, however, is often quite robust. The hydraulic rack, pump, and seal can last over 100,000 miles, depending on the car’s use and the weather.

10. Fluid Reservoir Leakage

Another frequent spot for a power steering leak is the reservoir holding the fluid. A feed line and a return hose made of rubber are typically connected to the reservoir.

It will also include a detachable top with a coordinated dipstick to monitor fluid levels. Leaks can come from either the cap seal or the hose joints.

A leaky power steering reservoir is easy to identify since the area around the leak will have flaky, dried fluid.

11. Power Steering Hoses

The power steering hose should be your initial inspection point for any steering fluid leakage. The return and the pressure hose are the two hoses.

That said, the return hose connects the transmission to the reservoir, while the pressure hose connects the vehicle’s steering box to the steering pump.

So, an outdated or loose seal might cause the hose to fracture. And this may cause the steering mechanism and hose to separate, resulting in fluid leakage.

To know more, you can also read our posts on why your car won’t accelerate, why your car won’t jumpstart, and why your car won’t start with a new battery.

Conclusion

There should never be any compromise regarding car safety. Because of this, you should routinely check your automobile and remain on top of its maintenance.

Most importantly, once you see an issue, you should always take action quickly because neglecting a power steering issue might result in a costly repair or even worse.

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