Most cars, trucks, and SUVs now employ power steering to improve handling ease for everyday drivers. Power steering, also referred to as power-assisted steering, makes it easier for you to handle your vehicle when parking and at low speeds. The system relies on hydraulic or electric power (or sometimes both) to help you turn the steering wheel.
Why do most vehicles utilize this? It makes steering more precise and quick but ensures that it is not overly sensitive to the movements of your wrists and hands. This is a marked difference from some sports cars, which do not employ power steering and are much more sensitive to movements in the steering wheel.
Power steering can sometimes fail due to a loss of power, loss of fluid, or pump failure. If this happens, it will become very difficult for you to turn your steering wheel. If your vehicle loses its power steering, slow down safely and turn on your hazard lights. When you have an opening, pull to the side of the road; the wheel will be difficult to turn, so be patient. Do not attempt to drive any farther; you will need to call a tow and have your power steering checked at a service department like Hirlinger Chevrolet.
Regular power steering maintenance will help prevent this issue. For example, power steering fluid will degrade over time, so it is important to replace it during routine maintenance. We recommend getting a power steering exchange every three years or 30,000 miles — whichever comes first. This should prevent costly repairs and the dangerous situation in which you lose your power steering. Aside from our three-year/30,000-mile rule, we recommend bringing your vehicle in if you notice that your power steering fluid has become dark brown or black. This is a sign of potential trouble.