A functioning power steering system enables a driver to turn their vehicle with minimal effort. However, when this system is compromised, drivers may begin to experience uneven tire wear, performance issues, and other more serious problems. Within a vehicle’s power steering system, power is supplied to the steering wheel movements, which is in turn transferred to the wheels in order to turn the vehicle. The power steering system is made up of a few key components, including the steering wheel and the steering column. Both of these components connect to the steering gear, which translates the steering wheel’s rotary motion to linear motion. Next, the steering linkage is responsible for transferring this linear motion to the steering-knuckle arms. Aside from these three main components, the power steering system also contains a control unit, a fluid pump and hoses, all of which control the distribution of the hydraulic fluid supplying power within the system.
If you’re gearing up to launch your career as a mechanic, you’ll be servicing a vehicle’s power steering components in order to keep them operating smoothly. Below, discover some tips for maintaining these systems during your career.
1. After Mechanic Courses, Maintain Good Fluid Levels
Power steering fluid, or hydraulic fluid, is the key to an effective power steering system. Thus, it’s important to ensure that this fluid is not only kept at an adequate level, but is also clear of any dirt and debris. Contaminated fluid can hinder the performance of a power steering system, causing damage to its components. During your auto mechanic career in Cambridge, make sure to monitor the level and cleanliness of a power steering system’s hydraulic fluid in order to properly maintain the system.
2. Change the Filter Regularly
We’ve already learned that it’s important to ensure that the hydraulic fluid is kept clean and free of contaminants. However, another important step in keeping this fluid clean is changing the fluid filter regularly. Just like a fuel filter, a power steering system’s fluid filter serves to separate contaminants from the fluid, keeping the hydraulic fluid within the system free of dirt which could compromise the system’s performance and damage other components. When inspecting a power steering system after completing your mechanic courses, verify when the last fluid filter change was. If it’s been over a year, the filter should be replaced to avoid reduced fluid quality.
3. Conduct Inspections of the Pump
Within a power steering system, the power steering pump is driven by a belt. By pumping hydraulic fluid, this pump provides the pressure the system needs to supply power to the steering wheel and turn the vehicle’s wheels. When performing maintenance on a power steering system during your career as a mechanic, it’s important to check the tension of the belt. Ensure that the belt has an adequate amount of tension, making adjustments to the tensioner as necessary. The pump needs the right amount of tension in order to effectively deliver power to the system, so make sure that you integrate pump inspection into your power steering maintenance routine.
4. Monitor the High and Low-Pressure Hoses
Hoses are essential for helping the hydraulic fluid to flow smoothly throughout the power steering system. However, these hoses, both high and low pressure, tend to become worn over time, making them susceptible to cracking and other forms of damage. If the hoses are compromised, it’s likely that the hydraulic fluid won’t be properly delivered to a power steering system’s components, creating problems for a vehicle’s performance. When maintaining the power steering system, check the hoses for signs of wear in order to prevent issues later down the road.
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