Leakage from the power steering system is often accompanied by noise from the steering pump as it runs low on fluid. You might already be topping up the fluid reservoir as its level drops.
Why does power steering fluid leak?
Fluid can leak from several places in the steering system. The following 4 areas are the most common sources of leaks.
- Power steering pump: The power steering pump is driven off the car’s engine. Pump seals can become damaged due to contact with dirty fluid or they can become fatigued from thousands of kilometres of use.
- Power steering hoses: The lines that run from the pump to the steering rack, or gear, are another possible problem area, particularly where the high-pressure hose connects with the metal fittings.
- Power steering rack or gear: The steering rack itself can lose fluid from its own oil seals.
- Power steering cooler: To complicate matters, some assisted steering mechanisms have coolers, which bring additional plumbing and potential for leaks. These coolers are often mounted in the front of the car, where damage can occur.