If you want to know how to stop a power steering leak, you first have to know where the loss is coming from. Since these types of leaks are not all that common, you may never need to know how to fix a power steering leak. But, if you are losing fluid, then you need to know how to find the bad part.

How does the Power Steering System Work?

Power steering gives your car the ability to make smooth turns at low speeds and improves handling at high speeds. Problems in this system will cause drivability issues. 

A pump operates the steering system and contains hydraulic fluid. The fluid runs from the pump to your steering rack via a high-pressure line. It is then returned from the rack by a low-pressure line where it goes into the reservoir and then back to the pump. 

If a steering pump is bad, it will make a whining noise, which is easy to diagnose. A slow drip is not as noticeable as a squealing pump, so it is harder to detect.

Symptoms of a Power Steering Leak

Even if you have not noticed any drivability problems, you may have noticed some of the following indicators:

  • High pitch whine 

  • Fluid on the ground under the engine 

  • Grinding noises when you turn the steering wheel

  • A power steering warning light on your dash

  • Steering wheel stiffness

If you suspect a leak, check the steering fluid reservoir level. Make checking the levels part of your regular maintenance as a precaution.

Here is how to check your fluid level:

  1. Make sure your engine is cool.

  2. Open the hood and find the reservoir – you may need to check your owner’s manual for its location.

  3. Check the level by looking at the reservoir’s minimum and maximum levels on a clear reservoir. If you have a dipstick, use that to look at the level. The level should be close to the maximum line, and if not, then it is leaking.

If you are not sure if it is leaking, then drive the car and when the engine cools down, check the level again.

Causes of a Power Steering Leak

Your power steering system consists of many components that will wear out over time. Here are some of the common places you might find leakage:

  • Hose/Line – They can become loose or cracked with age.

  • Seals – These wear out on the pump or blow out if the system has too much pressure. 

  • Rack – Worn shaft ends and seals will lose fluid.

  • Pump – It will wear out over time.

  • Pulley/Belt – Belts break or wear, and pulleys can become loose. 

If you need help, click here to see a video on how to perform a power steering inspection.

How to Stop a Power Steering Leak

There are several stop-leak additives on the market, but they are only a temporary fix.

Here are two quick fixes that may help until you can get replacement parts:

  • Stop-leak additive

  • Tighten the connections

Once you have determined the cause of the fluid loss, the quickest way to fix it is to replace the parts.

When you replace parts, air will get into the system; you need to bleed the lines and push out the air. Click here to watch a video we prepared to show you how to bleed the lines after you have replaced a part.

These tips should help you find, stop, and fix a leak in your steering system.