A power steering hose takes steering fluid at high pressure from the power steering pump to the steering rack and back again at lower pressure, allowing a hydraulic system to assist with turning the wheels.
As this system is dependent on fluid pressure to move the wheels, a leak in the hose will compromise the effectiveness of the power steering and may cause other serious problems. Luckily, there are two ways to deal with a leaking power steering hose – fixing it yourself, for a quick solution, and replacing it for a more permanent answer to the leak.
How to diagnose a leaking steering hose
The symptoms of a leaking power steering hose may also be caused by other issues, which will require their own repair techniques. The most common symptoms of a power steering hose leak are the smell of burnt oil, which may also be caused by a radiator or engine oil leak; tighter steering or noisy steering, which may be caused by an internal power steering issue; or oil leak spots under the car, which may be caused by a radiator leak or other oil leak in the car.
How to fix a leaking power steering hose
In the event that you can’t replace a leaky power steering hose – for example, if you discover the leak while on the road – then you will have to fix it enough to allow you to get home. You cannot drive while the hose is leaking, as the hydraulic oil used in the power steering can catch fire on contact with the hot engine, potentially destroying the car and causing a very dangerous situation. In any case, driving with compromised steering is always a risky proposition.
Once the vehicle is safely parked, leave the engine running and the car in neutral gear with the handbrake securely engaged.
- Visually check for the leak
Lift the hood and check for any leaks – if the power steering hose is indeed compromised, fluid will be spurting out. Once you have located the leak, turn the engine off and let it cool down – as stated above, hydraulic oil on a hot engine can cause fires.
- Make the repair
This part isn’t as bad as it sounds. Using a sharp blade, cut out the damaged section of hose, leaving two clean edges. Place a hose clamp on the two pieces of hose to connect them again, making an unbroken length of hose again, then put the hose back in where it is supposed to be.
- Refill the power steering fluid
Since much of the fluid will have been lost during the leak and subsequent cutting and reconnecting of the hose, you will need to refill it to restore the proper pressure.
- Test the repair before driving off
Switch the engine back on and look for leaks again. If the clamp isn’t tight enough, the hose may still leak – in which case switch the engine back off and tighten them up. If the hose leaks in another area – for there may have been more than one leak – then you will need to repeat the repair process until all leaks have been patched.
- Replace the hose as soon as possible
Your repair will be enough to make the car safe for the road again, but it is not a viable long-term solution. At the earliest opportunity, you should replace the hose or have it replaced by a mechanic.
If you are looking for a power steering hose, you can order one at any time from Brakequip or call them on 01257 220010 to discuss your requirements. They will be happy to help you find one that suits your needs!