The power steering system in your vehicle is essential for maintaining control and ensuring a smooth driving experience. It uses hydraulic fluid to transmit the force from the steering wheel to the wheels, making it easier to turn the vehicle. 

However, like any other automotive component, the power steering system can wear out or fail over time, potentially leading to a loss of steering control and putting your safety at risk. In this article, we’ll explore the signs of a failing power steering system and when you should visit your mechanic for a diagnostic check and repair.

Indicators of a Malfunctioning Power Steering System

Difficulty in Turning the Steering Wheel

One of the primary functions of the power steering system is to make it easier for you to turn the steering wheel. If you experience increased resistance or stiffness while turning the wheel, it’s a telltale sign that there could be an issue with your power steering. 

This difficulty in turning the wheel may occur suddenly or gradually worsen over time, making it harder to navigate turns and corners safely.

Noisy Steering

Unusual noises coming from your steering system are another indicator that something may be wrong with your power steering. If you hear a whining, groaning, or squealing sound when turning the steering wheel, it could be due to a low power steering fluid level or a malfunctioning power steering pump. 

These sounds are often more noticeable at lower speeds and should not be ignored, as they could lead to more severe issues down the road.

Vibrating Steering Wheel

A vibrating steering wheel is not only uncomfortable but also a potential sign of power steering problems. This vibration can be caused by a damaged power steering pump, worn-out serpentine belt, or a loose power steering pulley. 

If you notice a persistent shaking or vibrating sensation in your steering wheel, it’s best to consult a mechanic to determine the underlying cause and resolve it promptly.

Power Steering Fluid Leaks

Power steering fluid is vital for the proper functioning of your power steering system. If you notice a puddle of reddish-brown liquid under your car, it could indicate a power steering fluid leak. 

Leaks can occur due to damaged hoses, cracked seals, or a failing power steering pump. It’s essential to address these leaks as soon as possible, as a low fluid level can lead to increased wear and tear on your power steering system, resulting in more expensive repairs.

Steering Slipping

Another common sign of a failing power steering system is steering slipping or a feeling of the steering wheel “giving away” when you’re holding it steady. This can be a disturbing experience and may cause you to overcorrect your steering, resulting in dangerous situations on the road. 

Low-power steering fluid, a worn-out serpentine belt, or a failing power steering pump can cause steering slipping. If you notice this issue, you must visit a mechanic as soon as possible.

Warning Lights on the Dashboard

Many modern vehicles come equipped with a power steering warning light on the dashboard. If this light illuminates, it clearly indicates something is amiss with your power steering system. 

In some cases, it could be as simple as a low power steering fluid level, but it could also signify more severe issues like a failing power steering pump or a damaged serpentine belt. Don’t ignore this warning light, and consult with a mechanic to diagnose and resolve the issue.


A properly functioning power steering system is crucial for a safe and comfortable driving experience. Identifying the signs of a failing power steering system early on can help avoid costly repairs and ensure a secure driving experience. 

Once you suspect that your power steering system may be failing, it is essential to consult a professional mechanic as soon as possible. Regular maintenance and inspections can also help prevent issues with your power steering system and keep your vehicle running smoothly.

If you need a mechanic in Hoover, AL, who can deal with power steering system issues, look no further than Hoover Automotive! 

We provide various car services and repairs, such as engine fixing, brake maintenance, tire replacement, auto repair, and much more. Come visit us today to discover more about your car’s workings!

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