Today’s topic is power steering service in Reno. If you took an informal poll around Reno you’d probably find that most vehicle owners have never heard of power steering service. That’s not surprising. Most people in Reno aren’t aware that their power steering needs periodic service even though it is standard on every vehicle.
Many younger than a certain age have probably never driven a vehicle without power steering. To get an idea of the difference; if you’ve ever cut a board with a hand saw, you know it’s a lot of work. Using a power saw is easy-peasy by comparison.
Without power steering, your arms must do all the work to steer the wheels, and that’s hard, especially around downtown Reno. Which is why old cars had such big steering wheels: to get enough leverage to steer.
In Reno, most vehicles have a hydraulic power steering system. A pump is powered by the serpentine belt from the engine. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid to actuate a hydraulic cylinder. This provides power to help steer.
An electric pump is used in some vehicles in Reno to pressurize the fluid rather than a belt-driven pump. Vehicles with electric motors providing the power assist, not using power steering fluid at all are appearing more frequently. As more hybrids and electric vehicles hit the market we’ll see a lot more electric systems.
For the time being, the vast majority of power steering systems use power steering fluid which needs to be serviced. The fluid needs to be changed for a couple of reasons. For one, it attracts moisture. Water has different hydraulic qualities than power steering fluid, and that makes a difference in steering performance. Water will cause corrosion damage to power steering components. The fluid needs to be changed as it just gets dirty over time. The dirt and deposits are removed when the old fluid is drained and the system flushed out. The clean, fresh fluid provides better lubrication and corrosion protection.
So ask your Reno service advisor at Wayne’s Automotive Center or check your owner’s manual to see when power steering service is recommended. Periodic service will extend the life of your power steering components.