I started my car this morning. It was nice and warm outside. The power steering didn't seem to be working though. I drove about ten miles, parked, and turned off the engine. An hour later, I started the car back up, and my power steering was working just fine. What would cause power steering to fail, then start functioning an hour later?
How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?
Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :
Intermittently stiff hydraulic steering
Most recently this problem seems to be caused by aerated power steering fluid or binding steering components. Quickly checking both will identify which is causing the problem.
Improper Fluid Levels
Too much and your valves and seals could collapse under the pressure. Not enough and the fluid can`t exert the force needed to turn your car. Replacing your fluid on time will help prevent this issue, but any leaks can cause a loss of fluid that will ultimately lead to power steering failure.
Unscrew the cap of the power steering pump and check the fluid level. If it`s not full, buy power steering fluid from your local automotive supply store and refill the pump. If you have to add fluid frequently, you may have a leak. Inspect the hoses and lines around the power steering pump for possible leaks.
If the power steering pump pulley starts to fail or intermittently binds, you might notice that your car`s steering will either not respond well when you turn the wheel, or it will respond excessively.
The most common cause of a stiff steering wheel is the lack of enough power steering fluid in the system. This condition can arise if there`s fluid leakage from the pressurized hose area. Refilling the liquid in the power steering tank will fix the problem for the time being, but the leak must be taken care of.
Cause: The power steering pump is not providing sufficient pressure to operate the power steering rack/box correctly at engine idle revs. Most power steering pumps create pressure by forcing the power steering fluid into smaller space using rotating vanes or cylinders.
One of the most common problems power steering systems have is leaks. The high pressure of the system combined with the soft hoses carrying the fluid makes it relatively susceptible to leaks. A low fluid level can cause a whining power steering pump and even a loss of fluid pressure and a loss of steering assistance.
If you are having a hard time turning the steering wheel, something is likely wrong with the power steering system. Low power steering fluid in the reservoir might diminish the power assist and is a sign of a leak. A faulty power steering pump or a worn (or broken) serpentine belt could also be the culprit.
This problem can be fixed on your own, but if you`re not sure how to fix electric power steering problems, take it to a certified mechanic.
A significant drop in power steering fluid
Faulty power steering pumps often cause fluid to leak between the reservoir and the pump itself. However, remember that not all leaks can be associated with a faulty power steering pump.
Sensors attached to the motor measure how much torque, or rotational effort, the driver is applying to the steering wheel. The sensors then use that information to decide how much assistance the driver needs to turn the front wheels. Speed is the greatest factor in determining how much assistance the EPS provides.
This issue with the EPS light can also be caused if you have recently had to jump-start your car, or you`ve disconnected the battery. Occasionally, the problem can be fixed by simply turning your vehicle off and on again.
This is normal for the most part. With the hydraulic power steering, there is an extra load placed on the engine when you turn the steering wheel. The computer tries to pick up the engine speed to compensate for this.
When gas is extremely low, the fuel pump is no longer suspended in liquid and can overheat. In some cases, low fuel can even affect power steering and brakes. While this damage is not likely to occur if you drive with the low gas light on once or twice, you shouldn`t make it a habit.
Now, when it comes to the power steering system, if the alternator fails to supply the vehicle with electrical power, the power steering pump will fail, and you will lose hydraulic pressure needed for assisting in steering. You will also lose many other systems in the vehicle.
This is a serious battery problem if the battery is now swollen and has no power. There has been an obviously internal fault. This will cause the vehicle to power down and the EPS light to come on as well. The EPS light is the warning indicator for the electric power steering.
The sensor sits on the steering pinion. A pole wheel is fitted on the input shaft, which is connected to the steering pinion by means of the torsion bar. When the driver applies torque to the steering wheel, the torsion bar is rotated and, in turn, the magnet relative to the sensor.
Diagnostics on any EPS system should begin by scanning the EPS module for diagnostic trouble codes. For example, a “C-series” code indicates problems within the feedback and electromechanical assist portions of the system.
Electric Power Steering (EPS) is virtually maintenance-free. There is some system that still uses 2 phase DC motors with brushes. Ultimately they wear and need replacing. The EPS needs careful calibration when it comes to its steering angle and or torque sensor.
Electronic failure is when the electrical systems keeping the power steering running stop functioning. This type of failure can be caused by a fuse issue, so you can easily check the fuse box to see if one of the fuses needs replacing.
If the pump never whines, or the engine never reacts to the load of the pump, suspect a bad pump or slipping belt. While not a perfect test, it is an indicator of a problem. If the power brakes work, but the power steering does not, disconnect the hydro-boost input and output lines and join them together.
A steering wheel that is hard to turn, or very tight could be a sign that you`re having problems with your rack and pinion. If your gearbox builds up heat, or loses hydraulic pressure from lack of steering fluid, this can be another indicator.