Power Steering Pressure Hose ReplaceInspecting and replacing power steering
A power steering pressure hose failure can be dramatic. Even a small hole in a pressure hose can cause power steering fluid to rapidly exit the system, usually landing all over something hot like an exhaust manifold or pipe. Combine this smoke show with a steering pump screeching from the sudden loss of fluid, and you might think world war three was commencing under the hood. Power steering system maintenance is the best way to avoid any smoke shows or sudden loss of power steering ability. The best time to replace a power steering pressure hose is before catastrophic failure. Monitoring fluid levels will provide an alert to power steering system leaks.
Simple in Theory
The system is fairly simple. A reservoir holds the power steering fluid. This reservoir can either be on the power steering pump or remotely located. The power steering pump is at the heart of the system. The pump itself takes power from the engine via an accessory belt. The pump pushes the fluid through a pressurized hose to the steering box or steering rack. Another hose brings the power steering fluid back to the reservoir once the power of pressure has been used to turn the wheels to and fro. In this way the show can go on and even the tiniest of humans can drive and parallel park an enormous vehicle without ending up with giant arms.
Hot Under Pressure
The power steering system takes advantage of hydraulic pressure. Fluids do not generally like to be compressed. Confine and pressurize hydraulic fluid, and this pressure can be employed to move elevators up and down or tilt over dump truck beds full of rocks. In the case of the automobile, this same principle is used to make steering a relatively effortless affair despite the wheels rolling along under three or four tons of sport-utility vehicle. Over time the rubber in the hoses can wear out. Inspect power steering hoses every other oil change. Look for dirt gathering around hose unions or the telltale drip on the driveway. Spongy, cracked, or leaking pressure hoses should be replaced.
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