Auto Service: Why You Need to Maintain Your Car

Welcome to my blog. My name is Ken. One day, I was driving home from work when the engine in my car failed. While I waited for the recovery truck to arrive, I realised I didn’t have a clue what went on underneath the bonnet of my car. I signed up for an auto service course at my local community college, so I could gain the skills I needed to properly maintain my car and repair it if something when wrong while I was on the road. I wanted to start a blog to pass on these skills to other people so that they can look after their automobiles.

Why a Whining Noise Could Indicate Power Steering Issues


Have you ever driven a car without power assisted steering (PAS)? If so, you may wonder how people used to manage in the old days, when none of these vehicles had such a magical device. It's true, driving today is quite easy and in many respects is almost automatic, but you can still get a sharp wake-up call if one of these components starts to go wrong. If you can hear something unusual whenever you turn the steering wheel, could power steering issues be in your future? What could this noise mean, and what should you do?

How Does PAS Work?

The power steering system in a typical car is linked to a pump that is driven by the engine. This pump pushes hydraulic fluid through the system to make it possible to turn the car with less physical effort. As you can imagine, if you try to turn heavy wheels and tyres at low speed on a sealed road, there's a lot of resistance. Hydraulic pressure helps you to overcome this resistance and makes reverse parking a breeze. However, things do go wrong, and if the pump starts to fail, you will notice a distinct whining noise.

Having a Closer Look

You can look for evidence of a problem by jumping out of the car and peering behind one of the front wheels. It will help if you turn the wheel fully to one side so you can get better access.

Have a look at the steering rack at the point where it is fixed to the wheel, and you will see a rubber cover, designed to protect the internal elements. You may notice evidence of fluid leakage around the edges.

Follow the steering rack back towards the engine, and you will locate the actual pump. It is usually near to the steering column, which in turn goes through the bulkhead to the steering wheel. Again, see if you can see any leaking fluid in this area.

You may find it a little tricky to see anything clearly because everything will be quite dirty, but the steering fluid has a distinctive orange shade and should be identifiable. In any case, a fluid leak is bad news, especially if you can see it towards the end of the steering rack. This could indicate a more serious problem.

Fluid that seems to be coming from beneath the power steering pump could be a sign that the internal seals have failed and may need to be replaced.

Should You Act?

What should you do next? While it is possible to ignore the issue and drive your vehicle even without any power steering, you should be aware of the risk. If all the fluid escaped, for example, then the pump could seize, and this could happen without any notice. If you are turning a corner at some speed, it's possible that you could lose control of the vehicle, and this might also damage the belt that connects the pump to the engine. This could result in damage to the water pump, alternator or other areas.

Don't Take the Risk

Consequently, it's best if you take the vehicle into a mechanic at a car servicing centre as soon as possible for them to fully analyse the issue.


29 June 2018