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Power Steering plays a key role in the control mechanism of the vehicle. It is connected to the engine. The driver applies the force on the Power Steering Wheel and it (torque) gets amplified and helps the front wheels of the vehicle to move. If Power Steering becomes hard due to any reason, it can be dangerous for your vehicle as well as for the other vehicles on the road.
Reasons Why Power Steering Does Not Work Properly in Winter?
There are many reasons for the “steering wheel hard to turn” problem in winter. It can be due to any issue in fluid, pump, or serpentine belt. At the time of turning, all these three components work together to reduce the resistance of the steering wheel. If there is a problem with any or all of them, they will fail to overcome the resistance, and you’ll feel your steering wheel extremely hard to turn.
You shouldn’t ignore the routine maintenance services of your car as daily wear and tear of some components can lead to the stiffness of the power steering.
1. Thickening of Fluid
Power steering fluid is the main component that keeps your steering wheel lubricated and reduces resistance to the wheel’s moment. If the quantity or quality of the power steering fluid is compromised, your steering wheel will not function properly, and you’ll find it hard to turn. If you are facing this problem, check the quantity of the fluid in the steering wheel. Inadequate fluid can lead to the problem of the hard steering wheel.
If, upon checking, you find that the fluid is full and you’re still facing a problem in turning the steering wheel, then the reason can be a compromised quality of the steering fluid. As time passes, dirt and debris can build up in the system and make the power starting fluid thick. Thickened power steering fluid fails to lubricate the system and makes it hard to turn the power steering.
The only possible solution to this problem is the replacement of the old and thickened power steering fluid by fresh power steering fluid.
2. Contaminated Fluid
If the steering fluid gets contaminated, it can give audible reminders that it needs to be changed. If the fluid is contaminated, it can cause the power steering system to work harder. When you hear unusual noises from your vehicle, maybe your vehicle needs to change its fluid.
You can buy the power steering fluid from autostore.pk at the best prices.
3. Broken Belt
A broken Serpentine Belt can also be a reason for the steering wheel to turn hard. Serpentine belt powers the following parts of the vehicle:
- the alternator,
- the power steering pump
- the air conditioning compressor
- the water pump.
It constantly rotates when the car is running. With time, the belt gets worn out due to the excessive workload on it. Also, as it cracks and becomes loose, the power steering shows signs of stiffness.
4. Failure of Steering Pump
There are the two main parts of a power steering system:
- The rack-and-pinion unit
- The power steering pump
Steering system fluid is transferred to the rack and pinion by the power steering pump.
The steering wheel pump allows you to turn without physical exertion via the control valve that allows the fluid to flow into the pinion. When the steering pump fails, you lose the power part of the steering system, and you’ll need extra force to turn the wheel. This can be dangerous if you need to take a sharp turn. Before failing, the steering pump makes a groaning noise. You should pay attention if your car is making unusual noises.
5. Damaged Steering Rack
The steering rack attaches the steering wheel to the mechanisms that are responsible to turn the wheels in the navigating directions. After extensive driving, the steering rack can wear out and cause the steering wheel to turn hard.
As the engine runs, the rack warms up, allowing the fluid to move and lubricate the system adequately. That’s why, if the problem is in the steering rack, you will face the problem just after starting the car, and the problem gradually subsides as the driving continues.
Solutions to Avoid Hardness in Power Steering
If you want your power steering wheel to work properly and smoothly, the first and foremost thing you should do is not to avoid regular maintenance.
If you find yourself in the problem of “hard to turn steering wheel”, first dig out the root cause (almost all possible causes are discussed above) and then opt for a permanent solution to avoid the problem in the future because it can cause you and the people around you serious damage. So be careful. Let us create bullet points for your ease:
- If the quantity of the steering wheel fluid is inadequate, check for leakage and repair it and fill up the fluid.
- If the fluid is thickened or contaminated, replace it with a fresh one.
- If the serpentine belt is broken or is about to break, immediately get it replaced.
- In case of steering pump failure or steering rack damage, get a replacement of the required part.
As power steering is the main part to control your vehicle, you should take it seriously and must do the maintenance check. Hardening of the power steering can lead to accidents. Therefore, you must know the reasons for its hardening and the solutions to avoid this problem. Especially in winters, you should check the power steering of your vehicle before going out on the busy roads, for long drives, and to the mountains.