The power steering control valve directs fluid where to go when you turn the steering wheel. For example, when you turn the wheel to the right, the power steering control valve rotates so pressure is applied to the correct side of the cylinder, so your vehicle goes in the right direction. Loose steering is not normally a problem with a power steering control valve, so if you are experiencing this, it is a sign of another issue. The following are symptoms of a bad or failing power steering control valve.
1. Leaking power steering fluid
One of the most common problems with the valve is it will start leaking. If you notice a puddle of power steering fluid underneath your vehicle, it is time to contact a professional mechanic to have your power steering control valve looked at and/or replaced. Power steering fluid smells like burnt marshmallow and it is normally clear to amber in color. It is also flammable, so clean up any power steering fluid you find right away.
2. Difficulty steering
Is it hard to turn a corner or difficult to park? This may be the fault of the steering control valve. If the valve is not working properly, the fluid will not be able to flow to the correct side of the cylinder. Normally, this creates a drop in fluid pressure and the vehicle will not steer as readily as it would before and can cause problems driving safely.
3. Whining noise while turning the wheel
A whining noise may also be present if your power steering control valve is failing. This noise is usually heard while you are turning a corner, or turning the wheel in general. Whining may also be heard at idle. No whining noises should be heard while the vehicle is turning, so this is a red flag and should be looked at as soon as possible. The power steering control valve is not normally inspected unless there is a problem. If the valve needs to be replaced, chances are the power steering pump will need to be replaced as well, so this is something you should be prepared for.
If you notice leaking, hard steering, or a whining noise while you are turning corners, have your power steering control valve looked at and/or repaired. This is an important part of your power steering system so it should be repaired as soon as you notice a problem. YourMechanic makes getting repairs to your power steering control valve easy by coming to your home or office to diagnose or fix issues. You can book a service online 24/7. YourMechanic’s qualified technicians are also available for any questions that may arise.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Power Steering Control Valve and was authored by Spencer Clayton.