A leaky power steering line can make a vehicle difficult to steer, and it can cause the vehicle to become a danger to you, your passengers and others on the road. A leaking power steering line can also cause damage or problems to other areas of the automobile--like wiring, which may have lost its protective covering with age. The best way to fix a power steering line is to remove and replace it as soon as you notice a loss of fluid or power loss in your steering.
Things You'll Need
- Liquid Wrench/WD-40
- Drain pan
- Flare-nut wrench
- Power steering fluid
Inspect the return line (usually there are clamps on each end) and the pressure line (there are threaded fittings on each end) attached to the power steering rack or box, including the unions and fittings, to find out which line is the source of your leak. Look for an obvious leak or a greasy buildup spot, especially along the pressure line, as it is generally the source or cause of power steering leaks.
Spray some penetrating oil (Liquid Wrench or WD-40) on the fittings or bolts attached to the end of the pressure line. Put a drain pan underneath the lowest part of the pressure hose.
Break loose the bolts or fittings, using a flare-nut wrench, and plug the area where you removed the hose with a rag to prevent leaks. Remove the steering box or rack end of the pressure line by removing all the clamps and shields with a screwdriver.
Reverse the steps to install the new power steering line. Ensure that all shields and clamps are tight and that the line does not sit on another component that may heat up from the engine.
Fill the power steering reservoir to the cold level. Start the engine. Turn the steering wheel sharply to the right and then sharply to the left, causing the wheels to lock each time. This will get rid of air from the power steering system. Refill the reservoir again to top it off, and repeat this step until there is no more air in the system.
Tips & Warnings
- Have a certified mechanic inspect your entire power steering system if you continue to have problems. Even though the power steering pressure hose is the source of most leaks on vehicles, the return line can also develop a leak around the clamps, the line itself can crack and leak, or the O-rings and gasket can fail--which will require removal of more parts, such as the pump itself.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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