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Importance of power steering fluid leaks

Power Steering Fluid Leaks: A Guide to Identifying and Repairing Them

There are lots of things you can afford to ignore in life—but a power steering fluid leak shouldn’t be one of them.

If you’re seeing the reddish-to-brown, oily fluid on your driveway or garage floor, it means that you’re about to find out that your vehicle doesn’t steer so easily, assuming you haven’t noticed already. And it’s best to act before it gets worse.

Finding the Source of the Problem

Power steering fluid can leak from a number of places within the system, and there may be more than one leak, too, so your detective work needs to be thorough. 

Probably the most typical cause of a leak is a worn hose or tube, which can dry out and crack, just with age, heat, and normal wear and tear.  That’s a relatively easy and inexpensive problem to fix, as hoses can be replaced without any major overhauls.

It’s also fairly common for connectors—such as seals and gaskets in the steering rack—to crack, sometimes from a lot of rough driving over coarse terrane or pot holes.  Like a cracked hose, fixing these shouldn’t be too big of a hit in your pocketbook.

Moving up to bigger issues, you might have a damaged pump, or worse yet, a cracked reservoir, both of which should be replaced. 

If the problem is this serious, you’ll probably know it even before you see fluid on the ground; low levels of power steering fluid will make your vehicle much harder to manage, and you’ll probably be hearing some groans from the power steering rack as you try to maneuver. 

Can I Drive With a Power Steering Fluid Leak? 

The technical answer to this question is: yes.  But that doesn’t mean that you should. 

While it’s a fact that the purpose of power steering is to make it easier to drive, it’s also true, that unlike our elders from many years ago, we’re just not used to driving without it. 

Quite frankly, it’s hard to crank that wheel with no power steering, especially for long drives.  And the inability to control a vehicle properly is a recipe for an accident, something that can be easily avoided by not driving until repairs are made. 

Can i drive with a power steering fluid leak?

Second, if you’re losing a lot of fluid to the point of running completely dry, you’re going to have metal-on-metal friction and serious overheating, which can cause catastrophic damage to major parts of your steering system, such as the pump, which can burn up without fluid.  Now we’re talking some big bucks.

Finally, it actually may be illegal in some places to drive with a non-functional power steering system.  At the very least, your vehicle probably won’t pass an inspection if your state requires it. 

Find the Right Solution for Steering Fluid Leakage! 

When we start having car trouble, it’s easy to seek a quick solution to avoid a roadside stall. We’ve all been there. 

For power steering fluid leaks, different “Stop Leak” products, which are additives designed to swell gaskets and stop leaks, are sometimes used.  But are they the best answer to such a potentially serious problem? 

In a pinch—where there’s no other solution in immediate site—Stop Leaks can temporarily seal a leak and give you time to get to a mechanic.  But there are drawbacks. 

First, they are, at best, a short-term solution. They’re not intended to be a substitute for a repair job. It’s easy to apply a quick fix, and then forget about the problem until it presents itself again.  You really don’t want to go there. 

But the big problem with Stock Leaks is that they can potentially damage your power steering if they’re left in your system too long. 

Since they work by “swelling” around junctures that are leaking, that means that they also increase the viscosity of the fluid, and that thickening can clog and damage other components of your power steering system. 

Soon, you might be right back where you started from, only worse:  Fluid too thick to travel can result in burnouts of major parts, and now you’re talking big inconvenience and big expense. 

Treat Your Power Steering With Only the Finest

As with all vehicle problems, your best bet is to take care of any power steering problem at the first sign of trouble.  Pull off the road ASAP and replace any broken parts with high-quality products if you want to avoid serious damage to your vehicle. 

For those parts, Sun Transmissions offers a full line of only the best components and accessories for your power steering, from seal kits to pumps and everything in between.  We also have the best solutions for your automatic transmission, so let us hear from you today and tell us how we can help.  And we’re happy to ship to you wherever you are!

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