What Happens When a Power Steering Pump Breaks?

by Vee Enne

Rack and Pinion Steering

The most common type of power steering currently being installed in automobiles is called rack and pinion steering. With this type of power steering, the steering shaft is connected to the steering wheel at one end, and a pinion at the other. The pinion connects the steering shaft to the rack, which uses a tie rod to move the steering arm. When the steering wheel is turned, it causes a chain reaction, resulting in the rotation of the tires in the required direction.

Power Source

Power for this type of steering is provided by hydraulics. A power steering pump is a rotary-vane pump. This type of pump has rotating blades, or vanes, which pull fluid from a reservoir, and force it through into an outlet. The motion of the fluid provides assistance to the driver's turning motion. This operation only takes place when the driver is turning the wheel.

Signs of Trouble

When a power steering pump breaks, it can have several different effects on an automobile. First, and most importantly, it can affect the driver's ability to steer effectively. Without a properly functioning power steering system, the steering wheel can be difficult to turn. It can also leave unsightly stains under the car, as the fluid leaks out of the pump reservoir. Finally, the power steering mechanism will make loud screeching noises in the event that there is a problem with the pump, or fluid level.

About the Author

Vee Enne is a U.S. Military Veteran who has been writing professionally since 1993. She writes for Demand Studios in many categories, but prefers health and computer topics. Enne has an associate's degree in information systems, and a bachelor's degree in information technology (IT) from Golden Gate University.

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