The power steering pressure switch communicates with the computer by sending information about the fluid in the power steering pressure system of the vehicle. From there, the computer adjusts the engine’s operation as needed. The switch has two electrical sensors, as well as a diaphragm, which are subjected to heat on a daily basis. Over time, this heat can cause the pressure switch to fail. The following are a few symptoms to look for if you suspect a failing power steering pressure switch:
1. Engine slowing down
As soon as the power steering pressure switch starts to go bad, the computer will not be able to keep up with the demand of the power steering system and make proper adjustments. One symptom of this is the engine will slow down when you turn a corner, or while you are driving at low speeds.
2. Engine stalling
Along with slowing down, the engine may stall when the wheel is turned. Again, this is due to the computer not being able to meet the changing demands of the power steering system, causing the engine idle to drop too low. The engine’s computer will not recognize the demand for power, so it cannot compensate, causing the engine to stall. If this happens to you, contact the professionals at YourMechanic to have your power steering pressure switch diagnosed. A vehicle should not be driven if it is stalling.
3. Speeding up and slowing down
As the computer tries to keep up with the demand of the power steering system, you may notice the engine slows down then overcompensates by speeding up with an erratic idle. This can be a dangerous situation because if it speeds up unexpectedly in traffic, it could cause an accident or cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
4. Check Engine Light comes on
If the computer recognizes the pressure switch is not working correctly, it will trigger the Check Engine Light on your dashboard. Once this light is illuminated, it is important to have your vehicle inspected by a mechanic as soon as possible. The Check Engine Light can mean many different things, so it could be a problem with your power steering pressure switch, or it could be a combination of issues.
As soon as you notice your engine slows down, stalls, or speeds up then slows down, have your power steering pressure switch inspected and replaced. In addition, anytime your Check Engine Light is illuminated your vehicle should be inspected by a mechanic. YourMechanic makes getting repairs to your power steering pressure switch 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 Pressure Switch and was authored by Valerie Johnston.