Power Steering Systems

Your vehicle’s power steering system is very complex and is … Power steering is a system for reducing the steering effort on … the power steering fluid …

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Power Steering Systems Taking the Mystery out of Maintenance 201 Park Washington Court Falls Church, VA 22046 (703) 532-2027 phone (202) 318-0378 fax www.motorist.org Good Maintenance Adds Extra Mileage Power Steering Systems AMRA/MAP believes that this information is accurate and reliable and does not endorse, approve or certify such information, nor does it guarantee the accuracy, completeness, efficacy, or timeliness; reliance on it should only be undertaken after a detailed review of the applicable OE publication(s). AMRA/MAP is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for damages of any kind or consequences thereof, arising out of use, reference to, reliance on, or performance of such information. Your driving type or vehicle usage may affect the maintenance intervals below. You should follow the manufacturer’s service schedule that best matches your vehicle’s operating conditions. Those recommendations may include: Proper Maintenance Helps Extend Vehicle Life! Change your engine oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles Check your tire inflation pressure monthly Rotate your tires every 6 months or 5,000 to 8,000 miles Change the engine air filter annually or when visibly restricted. Inspect Brake System every 12 months or 15,000 miles Taking the Mystery out of Maintenance Power Steering Operation Do not mix size or type (all season, performance, mud and snow) of tires on the same axle When replacing only two tires on front or rear drive vehicles, it is preferable to place the two new tires on the rear If radial tires and non- radial tires are mixed on the same vehicle, the radials must be on the rear Mount tires only on same or approved rim widths Proper wheel alignment adjusts the angle of the wheels so they are positioned correctly relative to the vehicle’s frame and maximizes the life of your tires AWD & 4-WD vehicles may require the replace-ment of all four tires, at the same time, in order to avoid damage to drive-train components. Power Steering Fluid (PSF) Power Steering Fluid is one of the hydraulic components in power steering systems. When a fluid becomes oxi-dized, its resistance to flow is greater and its ability to protect components and transfer pres-sure is decreased. The most common failure mode of PSF is internal and external con-tamination. Excess contamina-tion in fluid promotes compo-nent wear and can lead to component failures, including seals, shafts and gears. The steering system has three major components: (1) the steering wheel and attached shaft in the steer-ing column, which are con-nected to the steering gear; (2) the steering gear that in- creases the mechanical advantage while changing the rotary motion of the steering wheel to linear motion; and (3) the steering linkage (including the tie rod and tie-rod ends) that carries the linear motion to the steering-knuckle arms. Manual vs. Power Steering When the only energy source for the steering system is the force that the driver applies to the steering wheel, the vehicle has manual steering. When the driver’s effort is as-sisted by hydraulic pressure from an electric or belt-driven pump, the vehicle has power steering. Power steering allows manual steering to always be avail-able, even if the engine is not running or the power-assist system fails. How does the Steering System work? Most power steering systems work by using a belt driven pump to provide hydraulic pressure to the system. This hydraulic pressure is gener-ated by a rotary-vane pump which is driven by the vehi-cle’s engine. Low belt tension, contamination and belt vibration are common sources of belt noise. A screech-ing or squealing noise that oc-curs when pulling away from a stop normally indicates a lack of tension; check belt tension and tensioner adjustment. As the speed of the engine in-creases, the pressure in the hy-draulic fluid also increases. A relief valve is incorporated into the system to prevent over-pressurization in the system. The pressure is transferred from the pump to the steering gear through high and low pressure hoses. Hoses showing obvious signs of wear such as cracks, cuts, stiffness, bulges, excessive softness or abrasions should be replaced. Things to watch for Preventive Maintenance Your vehicle’s power steering system is very complex and is perhaps the most overlooked of all vehicle systems requiring regular maintenance. It is an extremely complicated and sophisticated hydraulic mechanism. The system usually contains a power steering pump, steering gear & linkages, drive belts, bearings, valves, hoses and seals. Power steering is a system for reducing the steering effort on cars by using an external power source to assist in turning the wheels. Most vehicles have power steering and the trend to front wheel drive, greater vehicle mass and wider tires means that modern vehicles would be extremely difficult to maneuver at low speeds (e.g. when parking) without assistance. Laboratory and field testing show that most Power Steering Fluids degrade measurably by 50,000 miles. Therefore, a one time exchange of power steering fluid at 50,000 miles is SUGGESTED — if a ser-vice interval is not included in the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. Additionally, the power steering fluid should be exchanged whenever a system component (pump, hose, rack & pinion, etc.) is replaced.

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