Will a Bad Battery Force the Power Steering to Fail?

by Mike Schoonveld

Power steering systems have both mechanical and hydraulic components, and are not electrical. You could pin power steering problems on a bad battery only if the battery is bad enough that it overworks the charging system -- causing the alternator to fail, which, in turn, overworks the belt that powers both the power steering pump and the alternator, causing the belt to fail.

Belt-Driven

A single belt drives both a vehicle's charging system and powers the hydraulic pump that powers the power steering system. If the belt slips badly or breaks, usually from normal wear and tear, the power steering will not function and the battery will quickly lose its charge. Check the serpentine belt.

Power Steering Fluid

Power steering fluid is a special oil the power steering pump sends through high-pressure hoses to assist steering. If the fluid level gets too low, the system will fail. Topping off the fluid may remedy the problem, but if the problem recurs, there's a leak somewhere that needs to be repaired.

The Pump

If the belt is in good shape and tight, the power steering fluid reservoir is full and the system is still not working, chances are the hydraulic pump in the system has failed. Replace it or take the vehicle to a mechanic to do the work.

About the Author

Mike Schoonveld has been writing since 1989 with magazine credits including "Outdoor Life," "Fur-Fish-Game," "The Rotarian" and numerous regional publications. Schoonveld earned a Master Captain License from the Coast Guard. He holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife science from Purdue University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera steering wheel and dash of british sports car image by Bo Widerberg from Fotolia.com