Power steering can make driving a car much easier. Without power steering, your car is much harder to steer, especially when traveling at a slow rate of speed or stopped. The entire power steering assembly is under high pressure as the fluid moves through the system and hoses. This fluid, which makes steering easier, will leak when something is working incorrectly or needs to be replaced. If you see that you have a power steering leak, follow the steps below to fix it in your own garage.
Step 1 - Park in a Safe Place
Before you start working on your vehicle you should always start your work in a safe area. If you have a garage, this would be ideal. However, you can fix your power steering leak on any flat, dry surface. Drive the car up on car ramps, or jack the front end of the vehicle in the air. Use jack stands for more stability, making sure to lock the wheels.
Step 2 - Locate Power Steering Pump
Located in the bottom of the engine bay, near the end of the steering column, is the power steering pump and fluid reservoir. Once you have it located, give it a quick check to see if the fluid is leaking out of the pump.
Step 3 - Place Paper on Floor
To get a better idea for where the power steering fluid is leaking from, place paper on the floor of your garage or surface of the driveway. Once you have found the location of the leak you can begin to work on fixing it.
Step 4 - Tighten Nuts on Pump
If the leak is coming from the pump you can usually fix the leak with a few twists of a ratchet on the nuts. There are times when the hose clamps can loosen from the vibrations of driving.
Step 5 - Replace Cracked Hoses
If you notice that there are cracks in the hose itself, you will have to replace them. Loosen the hose clamps that are on the component to remove the old hose. Attach a replacement hose, and tighten the clamps around the hose again. You may see that the crack is very close to the end of the component. If this is the situation, you may be able to simply cut the end off and reuse the same hose.
Step 6 - Check Steering Column Seals
One of the places where power steering fluid may possibly leak is through the rubber seals of the steering column. Check this area and replace any seals as needed.
Step 7 - Bleed Lines
If you have had to change any of the hoses and replace fluid in the power steering assembly you will need to bleed the lines of any air. Leave the cover off the reservoir and have someone turn steering wheel back and forth as far as it will go each direction to build up pressure. As you see bubbles escaping wait until it slows down and replace the cover. Have the steering back and forth continue and see if it is responsive or not. Continue to bleed the line as long as you need to in order to get rid of all the air.
By following these steps you will be able to repair a power steering leak.