What Happens if Your Power Steering System Overheats?

Posted on: 10 May 2021

If you drive a lot or have to drive in tough conditions, your car may start to let you know that it doesn't like those conditions and won't tolerate them for much longer. Overheating systems and odd noises are just the start and you'd do well to listen to your vehicle and get those problems checked out immediately. One issue drivers could face is the power steering system overheating, in which the power steering fluid boils as the system is pushed to its limits. This is a sign you need to re-evaluate how you drive your vehicle.

Lost Lubrication 

If the power steering fluid overheats, it can start to burn, leading to less lubrication throughout the system. Less lubrication means more friction between parts, which both increases wear and adds to the overall overheating of your engine. Your engine can end up failing, resulting in expensive repairs and a long time without a car unless you don't mind hiring one for several days to a couple of weeks. In severe cases, your power steering system could be so damaged that you're better off getting a newer vehicle if the cost of the repairs would be much more than the value of your whole vehicle.

Pump Replacement

If you notice an overheating problem that appears to be in the power steering system, replacing the power steering pump sometimes helps. A newer, more efficient pump may be better at handling the driving you need to do, resulting in less boiling. Newer pumps may also have flow restrictors that reduce the flow of power steering fluid, which leads to less pressure and less overheating. If you have a particular need for power in your engine (for example, you have to drive over extremely rough terrain with steep grades), however, you'll need to speak with a mechanic who specialises in power steering systems to figure out the best combination of flow restriction and power generation.

Added Flow Restriction

If you don't want to replace the power steering pump, you could look at installing a flow restrictor in your current pump. This would have the effect of slowing down the flow of power steering fluid, thus hopefully reducing the temperatures that the fluid can reach as there would be less pressure to create heat. But you'd need to be sure that you weren't adversely affecting the rest of the power steering system by restricting the flow to less than what the system was meant to use.

Your vehicle's power steering system is key to a smooth journey. If you notice any signs of overheating, see a mechanic right away to find out the best way to adjust and protect the power steering system parts.