Few things are more frustrating than having a high-performance vehicle like a Volvo, and suddenly experiencing problems with the steering. Performance and handling are a major positive aspect of a Volvo. So that when your Volvo power steering fails or malfunctions, you can't help but notice. You may even feel some anxiety over the whole thing.
So you can be more informed when a problem arises, we’re going to talk about Volvo power steering problems.
Power Steering on Today's Cars
Once upon a time, power steering was considered a luxury. It cost a pretty penny to have power steering as an option on older automobiles. Today, it is considered more or less standard. And, as a result, these systems have advanced significantly. Some cars use electric systems while others use simple hydraulics.
- Traditional hydraulic power steering systems – Whether you need help with the steering or not, the hydraulic pump is always running, sapping valuable power from the engine.
- Electric system – The electric power steering systems do have distinct benefits. The system can shut down if the power assist isn't currently needed. (These systems can differ involving the use of hydraulics.)
Signs of Trouble
Signs that you may be having Volvo power steering problems with traditional hydraulic systems or with electric power steering systems are pretty clear and hard to miss. You've come to rely on exceptional ease in steering your vehicle. If you have to work harder, suddenly, to steer that car, there is likely a problem somewhere along the line where your power steering system is concerned.
How do you avoid problems with your power steering? To accomplish this, remember that your vehicle needs the following:
- Clean power steering fluid in the proper amount.
- Clear passageways.
- A power steering pump in good condition and of good quality.
- An engine belt in good repair and of good quality.
The hydraulic fluid that pumps through your steering system is its lifeblood. A power steering rack or gear turns your front tires but is motivated by the power steering fluid at high pressure. It's a complicated little system involving many small passages. Power steering can malfunction if these passages become clogged. And this is a hard problem to diagnose. Flushing of the system is usually the suggested repair, if, indeed, the problem is diagnosed properly.
The Pump for Your Power Steering System
This is a simple machine. It is not uncommon for a bearing to go bad in your Volvo power steering pump. Or any other pump, for that matter. The works of the pump depend on a shaft which is supported by the bearing. These bearings wear out after mile upon mile of use. You may hear a change in RPM pitch, a wine, or a hum as your bearings start to wear out. Leakage can also occur when a bearing wears out. Replace the pump and everything goes back to normal.
How Is Your Engine Belt?
Directly from your vehicle's engine, your power steering system gets its power. From the crankshaft of your engine to the power steering pump, a belt makes this possible. A single, serpentine belt weaves through all the pulleys, snaking its way through your engine. (Some cars rely on more than one belt. With these cars, each accessory has an individual belt.)
Should a belt break, become glaze, or get frayed, malfunctions will occur in the power steering system. You likely have a broken belt if you suddenly lose power steering altogether. An easier fix is a squeaking belt.
Leaks are also a common problem with any car, including the Volvo power steering system. If you notice a power steering fluid leak, check with a professional so that they can figure out where the leak is coming from and repair the problem.