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Q: My power steering isn't working

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I was told by that it may be the pump. I was also told that it may be the rack and pinion. I was also told to trade it because the repairs would cost a lot. What do you suggest?

My car has 76540 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: You problem suggests that your power steeri...

You problem suggests that your power steering pump may be failing or you have a leak elsewhere in one of the power steering lines. Understanding how this system works is helpful to understanding the problem. The power steering pump supplies pressure as it is turned by your engine, and driver control is supplied by either the rack and pinion or a steering gear box. Fluid pressure from the pump is used to push against a piston. When the wheel is turned, pressure flows to one side and this piston moves. The piston is attached to the steering gears. As the hydraulic pressure does the work, the driver controls the direction by turning the steering wheel. The rack and pinion gear set does two things: It converts the rotational motion of the steering wheel into the linear motion needed to turn the wheels, and it also provides a gear reduction, making it easier to turn the wheels by using reduction gears where the steering shaft connects. This system uses a torsion bar–driven valve to direct and relieve pressure in a cylinder. When the steering wheel is not being turned, the steering valve is at rest.

Power steering leaks are fairly common but should be looked at immediately by a qualified technician as power steering fluid can be flammable, especially when under extreme pressure. I would recommend having an expert, such as one from YourMechanic, diagnose your power steering system.

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