How To Fix the Top 4 Air in Power Steering Symptoms
If your car's steering becomes too hard, it could be caused by an air pocket in the power steering pump.
The power steering pump is powered by hydraulics. Anything powered by hydraulics could be affected if air gets into it. This could cause steering problems since the air will be compressed.
If your car's new model has a specific way the manufacturer recommends bleeding the system, you might want to check the owner's manual for that.
In other words, you'll want to ensure that the manual has the necessary guidance.
Table of Contents
- What Causes Air in Power Steering?
- Air in Power Steering Symptoms
- How To Remove Air Bubbles in Power Steering
- Best Car Deals by Category
What Causes Air in Power Steering?
The most common way air enters the power steering reservoir is through the hose that connects it to the pump.
This is done using a suction. The air will get into the system if there's a loose or bad connection.
The build-up of air in the power steering fluid can cause a spongy steering feel and noise.
Once it reaches the reservoir, it will start to bubble. Other significant causes of bubbles in the power steering include;
1. Power steering pump
A poorly designed or failing power steering pump can cause too much heat to build up in the vehicle.
When the fluid starts to bubble, it can cause the wheels to lock up. In rare cases, the fluid can overflow once the steering wheel lock is turned.
2. Low flow
If the low fluid level gets too low, it can cause the reservoir to overheat and eventually cause the remaining fluid to overflow.
3. Pinched hose
A pinched steering line or hose can also cause hydraulic pressure to return to the reservoir. This can cause the fluid to appear to be bubbling.
4. Rough driving
If the quick-lock function is activated while the steering wheel is swinging, it can cause the hydraulic and steering components to bubble.
Air in Power Steering Symptoms
There are several symptoms of having air in the power steering. Aside from the usual signs, other symptoms can be triggered by air getting into the car's power steering.
These include low transmission fluid levels and a possible leak. These are some of them:
1. You feel vibration On the Steering Wheel
If the steering wheel feels like it's vibrating or experiencing a distinct clicking sound, this could be a sign that the car's power steering is failing.
2. Loss of steering fluid or steering fluid leak
The working capabilities of a car's power steering system depend on the level of its steering fluid.
If the fluid level is low or visible, inspecting and confirming whether the excessive airflow is affecting the steering system is essential.
3. Loss of power
If the vehicle's steering suddenly becomes manual, it's essential to check if the air is still trapped in the power steering.
If the air gets into the car's power steering, it can cause a loss of power. You might hear a growling even after turning the car off.
Another sign that the car's power steering is failing is when the steering wheel doesn't respond appropriately while turning. This could mean the air is trapped in the car's power steering.
4. Stiff or hard steering & bubbles in the reservoir fluid
If the air gets into the car's power steering, you might also hear whining while turning the wheel. This could be a sign that the transmission fluid level is low.
If the car's steering wheel becomes hard or stiff, this could be caused by the damage it's caused by the trapped air inside the power steering.
If the bubbles in the reservoir fluid are turning low and creamy, this could be a sign that the level of the transmission fluid is low.
Also, if you hear a loud moan while you're turning the wheel, this could mean that the steering wheel is getting damaged.
The air in the power steering could signal that something is wrong with the system.
How To Remove Air Bubbles in Power Steering
If you're having difficulty getting rid of air in your hydraulic lines and power steering, bleeding can help.
However, it's important to note that if you bleed the power steering and the issue persists, you might have a leak in the power steering line. Having a mechanic check your vehicle could help identify and fix the issue.
1.) Find the power steering reservoir, and twist the cap off. The manual will tell you where this tank is located and usually lies next to the engine bay's cooling system. This is where the transmission fluid is stored.
Locate a small, cylindrical tank half the size of the coolant reservoir.
The top portion of this tank has a plastic cap that can be removed. With the vehicle switched off, twist the tank clockwise.
2.) If the power steering reservoir is low, fill it to the cold fill line. You can determine the type of fluid you need by reading your owner's manual.
Before filling the reservoir, inspect the dipstick, which has two hash marks.
If the liquid is below the "cold" mark, slide a funnel through the opening of the reservoir and into the power steering fluid. This will allow you to reach the "hot" hash mark.
Most vehicles use synthetic or industrial hydraulic fluid. You can also purchase power steering fluid at your local automotive store.
3.) When you're about to start bleeding the power steering system, close the cap to prevent the fluid from leaking.
Doing so will allow the air to escape from the system and prevent the power steering fluid from getting out of the reservoir.
4.) If the power steering system has a bleed valve, you can perform this procedure by purchasing a vacuum pump kit.
After reading your vehicle's manual, slide the end of the vacuum pump hose over the bleed valve.
If the gauge on the pump reads 20 hg, pull the trigger, and the air will be removed from the system.
Some vehicles don't have a bleed valve on the power steering assembly. This is because it's relatively easy to bleed the system without a vacuum kit.
If you're planning on using a vacuum pump kit to remove the air from the power steering system, you might want to use a bleed valve adapter on the reservoir lid.
You can also purchase a vacuum kit that slides into the opening of the reservoir.
If you have a bleed valve, you can still use the traditional method to remove the air from the power steering system.
This method is easier to perform since it doesn't require you to elevate the vehicle.
In addition, it only takes around five minutes to remove the air from the system.
5.) Before lifting the vehicle from the ground, slide a pair of wedges or a choke behind the rear tires to prevent it from sliding back.
When the car is on a flat surface, slide a hydraulic floor jack under it. Step on the jack's pedal multiple times to raise the vehicle's side.
Then, slide a jack stand underneath the car to allow the wheels to rest on the frame.
The easiest way to bleed the power steering is by turning the steering wheel over and over and over again. You don't need to raise the vehicle's rear to do this.
Even if you cannot slide a jack stand under the vehicle, you can still bleed the power steering lines.
So although this method won't altogether remove the air from the system, it should improve the performance of the steering system.
6.) Before you can start the process, make sure that the key is in the ignition.
You must first get inside the vehicle to unlock the steering wheel. Don't start the car.
Only turn the key to unlock the steering. The key has to be in the ignition to be able to open the steering.
7.) The easiest way to bleed the power steering is by turning the steering wheel over and over and over again. This process forces air out of the system.
The wheels must rotate as far as possible to force air out of the lines and components of the steering system.
After you've turned the wheel, take a quick look at the power steering level. Before starting the process, ensure the power steering reservoir is full.
After you've opened the cap, look at the power steering fluid's level. If it's low, add more power steering fluid to the reservoir to reach the cold fill line.
8.) After closing the power steering reservoir cap, get back into the vehicle and start.
Turn the wheel lock to lock several times and let the fluid cycle through the lines.
If you're driving a standard car, this procedure should be repeated 20 times to let the fluid circulate through the lines. If you're driving a minivan or an SUV, do this 35 times.
9.) After turning the engine off, go to the power steering reservoir. If the fluid is still bubbling at the top of the reservoir, there's air in the lines.
If there's no sign of bubbling, there is no air in the lines, and the system will no longer be affected by the air.
10.) If the fluid is still bubbling at the top of the reservoir, start the engine and lock it again. This procedure will continue until the bubbles disappear.
The article covered air in power steering symptoms as promised. It also covered how to get rid of the air in the power steering.
It is essential to recognize these symptoms whenever they occur.