When do you need to replace your power steering hoses?
In an aging vehicle, it is extremely common to replace one or more power steering hoses. If you see that your power steering fluid reservoir is low, the first thing you need to do is check your hoses and check for puddles under your car. Often times, an old power steering hose can be worn, cracked, and brittle over time. This easily leads to a leaky system, which can make driving (mainly steering while driving) very difficult. Another way a power steering hose can fail would be a loose or fallen coupling. This would keep the hose from maintaining a good connection, and would result in fluid loss. Since steering is a principal function of driving your car, you wouldn't want to operate it without the ability to steer. In an emergency, you may have to dart out of the way to avoid danger. The last thing you would want would be a dry or almost dry power steering system inhibiting your vehicle's steering response.
Power steering: Who, What, When, and How?
Assisted steering systems first made their way onto passenger cars and trucks around the turn of the 20th century. It took several decades, however, for the hydraulic technology to improve enough in order to make the components economical and efficient enough to offer as standard equipment on production cars. A typical power steering system
today consists of a pump, steering rack & pinion (gear box), an optional power steering cooler, and a fluid reservoir that may or may not be attached directly to the pump. Connecting all of these components is a system of power steering hoses. Consider your power steering hoses the veins of your power steering system. Without power steering hoses, the fluid that is essentially the life-blood of the system cannot flow from component to component. And without that hydraulic fluid, the rack and pinion gearbox wouldn't assist your car's power steering.
Difficult? No. Messy? Yes.
There could be up to four different power steering hoses on your car; the pressure hose (pump to rack), and up to three other return hoses that connect the rack to a power steering cooler, cooler to reservoir, and the reservoir back to the pump. Not all cars have a power steering fluid cooler, and some have a reservoir that's integrated with the pump; so the number of hoses can vary.
- Identifying which power steering hose is leaking or broken is the first step in starting the replacement process.
- Next, decide if you can perform the replacement from atop the engine, or if you have to lift the car and put it on jack stands.
- Now you should remove any components that might be in your way. Depending on the location of the power steering hose, there could be a number of engine parts and other accessories that may be blocking you from performing your replacement easily.
- At this time, put a large pan under the spots where you are disconnecting this hose, and under the power steering fluid reservoir.
- Once the collection pans are in place, disconnect the old hose and install your new one.
- Also consider performing a flush when you have replaced your power steering hoses. Simply remove the hose that returns fluid to the reservoir, point it toward one of your collection pans, and start your car. If you turn your steering wheel repeatedly, the pump will cycle out your old fluid. Continuously fill your reservoir with new fluid until you see it starting to fill the collection pan. That means the system is now clean.
- Finally, you can re-install all other components you removed in reverse order. Done and done.
Help us help you.
Don't be discouraged if you have to buy a new power steering hose. Yes, there are lots of options online, but at Car Parts Discount we make it easy to find what you need. We have brands from top original equipment and aftermarket manufacturers available at everyday low prices. So if you need a power steering pressure hose, return hose, or any other power steering hose, we will be able to get you the part necessary to fix your car and get you back on the road in no time.