Before you start driving your car, make sure you know how the power steering system warning light works. There are two main power steering systems today; hydraulic and electric power steering. A power steering warning light means a problem in your power steering system requires immediate attention.
In hydraulic systems, the power steering warning light will appear either red or yellow, in the shape of a steering wheel with or without an exclamation mark. The warning will be a lit EPS in vehicles with an electric power steering system.
What to Do When the Warning Light Appears
As soon as the power steering warning light appears, pull over and stop the car as soon as it's safe. The following are the common causes of power steering problems and what you should do about them:
- Hydraulic Power Steering: These use a hydraulic system that contains hydraulic fluid. Low hydraulic fluid levels will immediately activate the warning light. Pull over and check the fluid level, then top it with the correct type of power steering fluid. A low fluid level may also mean there is a leak in the system, so have this checked by a mechanic immediately.
- Electric Power Steering: These systems use an electrical steering assist system. The warning light is usually caused by a power failure, which may occur if you recently disconnected the battery or jumpstarted the vehicle. Check the battery terminals to ensure they are securely connected, then turn the engine off and back on to resolve the issue.
Is it Safe to Drive When the Power Steering Warning Light is on?
Losing power steering will make it much more difficult to steer any vehicle. Without it, you will use a lot of effort to turn the car. This will make it harder to avoid a collision or respond to an emergency.
Do not drive your vehicle if you cannot get the power steering back on. Instead, get the help of a qualified mechanic immediately. Remember, if you need power steering repair, give Hagin's Auto a call today!