Tips for troubleshooting a power steering system include adjusting tire pressures, lubricating steering gear, replacing steering linkage parts and filling power steering fluid to the proper level. The exact steps to troubleshooting power steering depend on the specific problem.
Low tire pressure can make the steering wheel difficult to turn. This usually feels like the wheel is dragging or binding and may get worse over time. Check the pressure for all tires and adjust as necessary. This problem can also occur if the wheels are out of alignment and is fixed by having them aligned.
A steering gear that is not properly lubricated can cause the steering wheel to become hard. The steering wheel requires much more strength to turn, particularly when parking the vehicle. Inspect the steering gear, and lubricate the necessary component to fix the problem. A steering box that is out of alignment can also cause this problem and requires a professional adjustment to restore proper steering.
Worn or damaged steering linkage parts can cause the steering wheel to become loose. The steering moves around unnaturally and feels like you are not in full control of the vehicle. Inspect the steering linkage parts for damage, and replace the affected parts to fix the problem.
Lastly, lack of power steering fluid in the reservoir can cause power steering to stop working completely. The wheel is especially difficult to turn at lower speeds, and the problem may occur suddenly. Check the reservoir, and fill the fluid to the power level. Another cause of this problem may be a damaged power steering pump, which needs to be repaired or replaced depending on the nature of the damage.