• How to Deal With Power Steering Pump Failure in Your Mini

    Blue MINI Hatch

    When you hear power steering, you might imagine flashy sports cars drifting on the raceway. Actually, that image is not too far off from what the power steering pump is designed for. For many drivers, the most enjoyable part is turning the wheel and doing donuts around the neighborhood. Whether you ever thought about drifting or not, being knowledgeable about and understanding the basis behind the power steering pump will help you become a better driver.

    Especially for MINI cars, it is of highest priority that the handling of the vehicle is maintained its maximum. While other parts of the vehicle also affect the handling, the steering is arguably the most significant one since it directly supplies the maneuvering capabilities and impacts the safety of the driver and passengers.

    What is the Power Steering Pump?

    The power steering pump is an indirect way of making it easier to steer. While other methods exist such as electric power assist, which acts by directly applying power to the steering to turn in the desired direction, the power steering pump regulates the application of steering fluid to the steering wheel to lubricate it and reduce the resistance to steer.

    The power steering pump uses a pressure control valve to measure the amount of pressure being applied on the steering wheel to then determine the appropriate amount of steering fluid that is administered to the steering wheel. Put simply, it is a control unit that pumps lubricant to facilitate steering.

    Without power steering, the combined friction between the tires with the ground and the wheel axes with the steering wheel is very high so that a large amount of force is required to turn the steering wheel. That is why the difficulty of turning the steering wheel varies with every car, and some cars are very hard to turn while others’ steering wheels glide easily. With the invention of the power steering pump, steering has become less of an ordeal, but there are always some problems that come along with it.

    What are the Issues of the Power Steering Pump Failure?

    While other more advanced methods of power steering have since been developed after its development, the power steering pump still has many advantages, despite several drawbacks. Since it is a pump that utilizes hydraulic fluid, it needs to be refilled when it runs out of liquid. Furthermore, this liquid can leak if the seal is broken, and this hydraulic fluid can damage other parts of the car such as the catalytic converter and result in more complications. If the vehicle relies on only the power steering pump and the power belt suddenly fails or the steering fluid is completely consumed, the power assist that was previously supplied to make steering easier is lost, and steering may become very difficult. This of course may be very dangerous, especially if it happens while driving on the highway.

    Since steering is such an important aspect of driving, it is imperative that the power steering is functioning properly and that the steering fluid is adequate. In the case that the power steering pump is not performing its job sufficiently, there are many options to boost the power assist, such as using an electric pump or even electric assist. An electric pump is beneficial because unlike the mechanical pump, it does not reduce the engine efficiency. Electric assist, on the other hand, is very beneficial because it removes the need for steering fluid altogether and can provide enough power assist to replace the need for a power steering pump altogether as well.

    Mini Cooper Car on Parking Lot

    The Answer to Power Steering Pump Failure

    If you find that your steering wheel is too hard to turn, then it is probably time to do something about the power steering. Although refilling steering fluid is a relatively simple self-repair that may improve power steering temporarily, it will not last for long and may lead to more serious problems with other parts and even risks losing power steering in the middle of a drive. For professional advice and exceptional customer service, come to German Motor Specialist in Los Altos, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Menlo Park, Mountain View, CA, where you can have all your power steering issues taken care of so you can get back to power steering your life in the right direction!

    * Blue MINI Hatch image credit goes to: bruev.

    * Mini Cooper Car on Parking Lot image credit goes to: bruev.

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