Steering system functions:

Most vehicles today have a hydraulic steering pump that provides boost to help you steer. The pump is usually driven by the serpentine belt, but some newer vehicles have an electric pump. Also, some vehicles have an electric motor that directly powers the steering.

Rack-and-pinion is the most common steering system in late-model cars. It can be part of a hydraulic or electric power steering system. The steering rack, which is controlled by the steering wheel, directs the rod-operated linkage, which causes the wheels to turn. In a hydraulic power steering system, a pump provides the required pressure. The steering system main function is to move the wheels in response to the movement of the steering wheel. Hybrid and electric vehicles use electric power steering systems. This type of power steering is gaining ground because of reduced fuel consumption. The vehicle’s central computer controls the power steering according to specific parameters, such as vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. There are many benefits to an electric power steering. Indeed, it can increase the autonomy of your driving with new options, such as parking assistance. Also, an electric power steering is recognized for its compactness.

What are the signs indicating a faulty steering system?

Since the steering system requires the synchronization of different parts, there are many signs of a faulty steering. Indeed, when your steering system is failing, it may be caused by your pitman arms, idler arms, tie rods, ball joints, core housings, and more.

Here are some common signs of a faulty steering:

  • Loose steering, also called “free play”.
  • Uneven tires wear.
  • Knocking noise when hitting bumps.
  • Difficulty in turning the wheel.
  • Steering wheel vibration.
  • Vehicle wanders or pulls to one side.

If you recognize any of those signs, you need to contact your NAPA AUTOPRO technician for a steering system maintenance.

How often do you need to maintain your steering system?

The steering system is critical to the safe operation of your vehicle. A well-maintained system allows the driver a pleasant drive. With time, pumps and motors will eventually wear out, and hoses will start to leak. We can postpone that day by having a power steering service from time to time. Your NAPA AUTOPRO center will drain the old fluid and replace it with fresh fluid. This removes water and contaminants that can corrode power steering parts. Ask your service advisor for the recommended change interval. The important thing to remember is to take care of these problems early on. If you neglect them, the damage parts stress others attached components.

No matter the type of steering system in your vehicle, the steering rack, tie rods, ball joints, and core housings should be inspected on a regular basis. Your certified NAPA AUTOPRO technician is the perfect person to check all the components in your steering system. 

Learn more about the steering system from our NAPA AUTOPRO experts in the video below: