Was driving and power steering went out. White smoke was coming from my car. I allowed it to cool down but the sensor kept reading

Was driving when power steering went out. Car started to smoke, fuel light came on even though it was fuel and battery light came on even though I had just gave it a jump. Checked the engine and saw oil at the bottom with smal melted pieces of the engine. Car would no longer start and kept reading error on sensor had to get it towed to dealership. What happened and what do I do?

My car has 165000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
Hi there. It’s always best to have a mechanic physically inspect the vehicle to determine what exactly broke on your car. So, anything we list here is just speculation based on what you described in the question. In most cases, when your power steering goes out instantly and you see smoke and oil, it’s due to a power steering pump or power steering line braking. The oil inside power steering systems is hydraulic fluid, which can be very hard on electrical sensors and components. It is quite possible that the power steering fluid may have damaged starter relays or ignition relays – which is why the car is not starting as well. Again, the best way to know for sure is to have a professional mobile mechanic come to your location and correctly diagnose the issues you’re having; so they can recommend or complete the right repairs.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

In most cases, when your power steering goes out instantly and you see smoke and oil, it`s due to a power steering pump or power steering line braking. The oil inside power steering systems is hydraulic fluid, which can be very hard on electrical sensors and components.
Cylinder heads sit on top of the engine block to form the combustion chamber. The parts can become warped through overheating and cause your engine to misfire. When the air-tight seal is lost, coolant can slip through openings and burn as white smoke.
The smoke is likely just the power steering fluid burning off on the hot engine. The steering is likely hard because you are low on power steering fluid from the leak. This means the fluid pressure can not build like it needs to in order to provide assistance with steering.
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.

A faulty power steering pump or a worn (or broken) serpentine belt could also be the culprit. If your car has electric power assist, a bad motor or blown fuse could be the cause.
The most common answer to, “Why is my car smoking but not overheating?” is that there`s a type of fluid that`s landed on the engine. This can be motor oil, fuel, transmission fluid, coolant, or even condensation. It can cause your engine to smoke because it`s burning off that fluid from the engine.
When this happens, this can be the result of many things such as faulty fuel injectors, a failing mass air flow sensor or a faulty fuel pressure regulator allowing too much fuel to be supplied to the combustion chamber to be burnt.
If your leak is red

Your vehicle uses two fluids that are red: power steering fluid and automatic transmission fluid. They are both hydraulic fluids. Some vehicles actually use automatic transmission fluid in their power steering systems.

One of the reasons for black or white smoke is a malfunctioning fuel pump, making your engine get a rich fuel mixture. In most cases, a bad fuel pump is giving a lean mixture, so this is not a common one.
If your steering fails, you will need to stop as soon as it is safe to do so. If you are in an area without much traffic and conditions are dry, brake as quickly as possible. If it is wet or icy, try to pump your brakes and downshift to avoid skidding, since you won`t be able to steer to correct a skid.
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.
Starter smoke is likely a sign of a blown starter fuse. Sometimes, this is caused by a worn-out fusible link — an insulated cable that protects electrical components. Both the starter fuse and the fusible link usually get damaged and cause smoke when there`s excessive current in the starter circuit.
Vehicles that are designed with a power steering pump should only be used when the power steering is operational. When the power steering stops working, you should refrain from operating the vehicle until the pump is replaced.
system, the electric power steering gets its charge from the battery, and if it drains too much power from your battery, your car may not start.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Was driving and power steering went out. White smoke was coming from my car. I allowed it to cool down but the sensor kept reading
ANSWER : Hi there. It’s always best to have a mechanic physically inspect the vehicle to determine what exactly broke on your car. So, anything we list here is just speculation based on what you described in the question. In most cases, when your power steering goes out instantly and you see smoke and oil, it’s due to a power steering pump or power steering line braking. The oil inside power steering systems is hydraulic fluid, which can be very hard on electrical sensors and components. It is quite possible that the power steering fluid may have damaged starter relays or ignition relays – which is why the car is not starting as well. Again, the best way to know for sure is to have a professional mobile mechanic come to your location and correctly diagnose the issues you’re having; so they can recommend or complete the right repairs.

I had a warning message in my 2013 Ford Fusion that the power steering assist failed. I have power steering capability now. Is it safe to drive?
ANSWER : Some 2013 Ford Fusion models are part of a safety recall involving loss of steering assist. Contact your dealer with the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or check your VIN number on safercar.gov to verify if this recall applies to your vehicle. Loss of steering assist can be dangerous if you are caught off guard. It would be best to not drive the vehicle. Contact your dealer to have it towed to their location.

Drive belt loose and power steering not working.
ANSWER : Hello, thank you for writing in. The vehicle’s drive belt is kept tight with an "auto-tensioner". This may be the pulley that has "popped" and released the tension. If that was the case, you would likely notice more issues than just the steering going out. The power steering pulley should still be inspected. If the vehicle runs, turn it on and watch the belt to see if anything is obviously wrong. Be careful, if the belt comes off or breaks it will fly off. The power steering pump pulley itself should not move. When the issue if found and corrected, make sure you replace the belt as well. Start by checking the auto-tensioner, and work your way to the power steering system.

Power steering loss, no belts are turning but the car is running fine. I also have a soft pedal. Whats wrong with my car?
ANSWER : I have only seen this situation once in my 30+ years and it turned out to be a broken crankshaft pulley. Belts are driven by the engine. The crankshaft pulley spins the belts, which in turn spin the air conditioner compressor, power steering and water pumps, and the alternator. The vehicle should be towed to your local repair shop and not driven. Without the water pump spinning to circulate the coolant, the engine will quickly overheat and result in more extensive damage.

Could the power steering pressure sensor cause my steering wheel to be hard or hard to steer?
ANSWER : Hello. The pressure switch (or "sensor") on your vehicle supplies a signal to the engine computer to increase engine idle speed as the power steering line pressure increases. If the switch were bad, what you would notice is the engine stalling or idle speed dropping very low as you turn the wheel toward the extreme left or right position.

If the engine is not slowing or stalling when you turn the wheel, then the switch is probably OK. Among the causes of excessive steering effort are very low tire pressure, low power steering fluid or trapped air in the system, damaged or loose power steering belt, and damaged steering rack.

If you would like to have this resolved, a certified professional from YourMechanic can diagnose your steering issue and follow through with needed repairs.

I have gray smoke coming out of my tailpipe but it’s not heavy smoke and my car check engine light is orange​ my car shut off
ANSWER : You did not mention why the radiator was replaced but I think your engine was overheated causing the head gasket to go bad. This would cause the white smoke out of the tail pipe and an engine misfire and overheating can cause the check engine light to be on. I recommend having the engine checked for leaking head gasket and scan the computer for codes.

Will a bad battery cause my car to shut off and my EPS light to come on? What would cause it to come on?
ANSWER : Hi there. 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. I strongly suggest having a qualified technician do a diagnostic inspection to determine the root cause of the battery behavior and if there has been any compromise to the other electrical systems. It may only be a failed battery. If you’d like to have this checked, YourMechanic has several technicians available that can assist you with an electrical inspection and can replace your battery as needed.

power steering fluid is leaking
ANSWER : With a power steering fluid leak that big, you certainly should have the vehicle inspected as soon as possible to find the exact cause. Any of the components you listed can be the source of the leak. The power steering pump as well as the rack & pinion steering unit rely on the fluid for lubrication as well as cooling. The whining you hear is from the pump when the fluid runs low or empty. Your issue can be caused by something as simple as a fluid hose right now, but continued ’running dry" of the power steering fluid, can result in damage to both the pump and the rack & pinion unit. If that happens, you can take what may be a repair of a few hundred dollars and turn it into a repair of a couple of thousand dollars.