What is the Power Steering Input Shaft Seal all about?
In order for your power steering system to operate, it has to connect with the steering shaft. This runs down from the steering wheel, and provides driver input to the power steering system (motion of the steering wheel).
The steering shaft connects with the power steering system at the gearbox, and there are two seals that are used to ensure that dust does not enter, and that power steering fluid is retained. The first seal is just a dust cover, the second seal is the input shaft seal and is responsible for preventing power steering fluid from leaking out.
All seals are subject to wear and tear, and replacement is inevitable. The amount of use and system age are the largest determining factors in how long the seal will last. If you notice excessive power steering noise or a fluid leak, your power steering input shaft seal may be leaking.
Keep in mind:
- The input shaft seal is not inspected during normal maintenance, and cannot be inspected without significant effort/teardown.
- If the seal fails, power steering fluid will begin to leak out, causing low fluid in the system, as well as the chance of fire (power steering fluid is flammable).
How it's done:
- The steering column lower yoke to rack and pinion input shaft is removed
- The defective input shaft seal is removed and shaft checked and cleaned
- The new input seal is installed and the lower yoke is reconnected
- The power steering system is refilled and purged of air
- The engine is run and the power steering system operation is checked
Over time and through wear and tear, your power steering input shaft seal can crack and begin to leak. It must be replaced before the leak becomes problematic. Low fluid levels can cause damage to the power steering rack and pump, and the fluid itself is flammable so contact with a hot exhaust system can be dangerous.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Power Steering Input Shaft Seal?
- Low power steering fluid with no obvious visible leaks from hoses
- Power steering fluid leaking on the ground under the back end of the engine near the firewall
- Whining noise from the power steering when turning
How important is this service?
Without a working power steering input shaft seal, your system will lose fluid. This can be detrimental to the power steering pump and other components. Have your system inspected and repaired by a one of our expert mechanics if you suspect there are any problems.