Posted on: 6 June 2017Share
Your sense of hearing may be very well tuned, especially when it comes to any strange noises that may emanate from your car. After all, you've got to try and anticipate any issues and be proactive when it comes to vehicle maintenance. If you have recently noticed a strange noise coming from the front of the vehicle whenever you turn the wheel, what is likely to be going on, and what should you do next?
Power Steering Issues
Most vehicles today are fitted with power steering systems to make it a lot easier for you to manoeuvre the vehicle in tight areas or at slow speeds. If you notice a strange, whining noise when you activate the steering, you'll want to investigate further.
Turn the steering wheel all the way to one side, and then get out of the car. Have a look behind the wheel, where the steering rack connects to the assembly. You will see a rubber "boot" which is there to protect the rack mechanism. If you can see what appears to be some oil in this location, there could be a leakage. Trace the steering rack further away from the wheel and you should be able to see the power steering pump itself. Check to see if there is any evidence of leakage here.
What You're Looking For
Power steering fluid can be identified by its distinctive burnt aroma and it's orangey-brown colour. There should be no evidence of this in either of these locations. When found near to the rubber boot, this can indicate an internal failure of the mechanism within the steering rack itself, and you may have to consider replacement. If the oil is evident near to the pump, however, it may be possible for you to get the seals changed within the pump at less cost.
Consequences of Inaction
Never be tempted to simply let this situation continue without taking action. If you do so, the fluid could leak out of the system completely and cause the steering to lock in one direction. If you happen to be driving at speed, this could cause a crash.
Remember also that several components are connected with one belt, including the steering pump. If this were to lock up as previously mentioned, it could cause other components to do the same, including the water pump and alternator. This would lead to an even bigger damage repair bill.
What You Should Do
With everything that's at stake, if you notice any leakage or are simply worried about that "whining" noise, visit your mechanic for advice as soon as possible.