Steering system failure – what can we do ourselves and what can we do in the workshop?

Steering system failure – what can we do ourselves and what can we do in the workshop?

It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

Faultlessness is a key consideration when choosing a car. Unfortunately, even in the case of more expensive models, visits to mechanics are an integral part of using the car. What if the steering system fails?

What does the steering system consist of?

The steering system is one of the key components of any car. As the name suggests, it is responsible for steering, and therefore also for our safety. It consists of three main components: the steering column, the transmission and the steering rack. The first part is a shaft, one end of which we have inside the vehicle – the steering wheel, while the other connects to the gear, which will be discussed later. The steering mechanism, on the other hand, is a set of levers and rods which connect other parts of the system to the steered wheels.

The steering gear and its support

The steering gear is responsible for accurately translating the movements of the steering wheel to the steered wheels. It comes in several variants. The most commonly used in passenger cars is a rack and pinion transmission, the so-called “mangle”. For a good dozen years or so, the standard in cars is also power steering. In those older we find a hydraulic solution. For its proper operation, a special pump is needed, which introduces oil to the system at the appropriate pressure. In younger vehicles, this method has been replaced by more modern systems. Currently, instead of a hydraulic pump we have an electric one, and instead of pressure elements we have electric actuators. This solution has a positive effect on fuel consumption, but can unfortunately generate higher costs of possible repair.

Malfunctions of the steering system – which we will solve in the garage?

The steering system consists of many components. Unfortunately, also faults can therefore be varied. The most common of these are: aeration of the system, damage to the power steering pump, gearbox failure, poor condition of the pressure hoses, rods or their ends, and in the case of electrical components – their burning. They can be manifested by lack of power steering, jerking or vibration of the steering wheel or other difficulties in driving the car. Getting air into the system is not a serious fault. Mostly responsible for it are leaky hoses or their connections. We can try to remove it ourselves by turning the steering wheel several times in both directions, of course, with the engine on. But before we do that, we need to check the fluid (oil) level in the expansion tank

If after performing these steps fluid is running out, we can try to replenish it and turn the steering wheel again. If the effect is still the same, the system is probably leaking and you need to locate this leak. In this case, you will need a lift or a channel. Similarly, in the case of other defects mentioned above. If we have access to any of them and the appropriate tools, we can actually replace each element ourselves. Otherwise a visit to the garage awaits us

Among the common failures of the steering system are also problems with the steering wheel. In their case, the steering wheel will occur more and more slack, so that the safety of traveling by car drastically decreases – the driver can not accurately steer the vehicle. The steering wheel can be replaced or remanufactured. Unfortunately, either way a visit to the mechanic will be necessary, because with this failure of the steering system is needed to re-align the wheel alignment, which requires appropriate equipment. However, the cost of such a procedure is not large

Prevention is better than cure

What else can we do ourselves? The answer is simple: prevent and take care of your vehicle. This is the simplest and also the best method. Just from time to time to check the level of fluid in the power steering system, and replace the worn out tie rods, their tips, pins, or joints in the control arms. Of course, the style of driving is also important. All bumps, holes, or railroad tracks should be overcome with the lowest possible speed, especially with the wheels twisted. If we do not follow this advice, sooner or later we have to replace or regenerate power steering pump or steering pinion. Unfortunately, this must be associated with considerable costs.


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