Power steering helps the driver to steer the wheels easily with less effort. The hydraulic one could fail because of its fluid pump and the electric one could fail because of an electrical malfunction. But it is safe to continue driving the car in such a condition?
Can you drive without power steering? Yes. It is possible to drive without power steering. However, it can be difficult, especially if you are accustomed to the assistance provided by your vehicle’s system.
Read on to learn more about power steering and its functioning mechanism, how to know if it is broken, the factors to consider when driving without power steering, and the cost of replacing it.
What Is Power Steering?
Power steering is a type of technology that uses a motor to generate an additional steering force. This technology was introduced in the 1950s and has become a regular feature in most current vehicles.
A computer controls the system and receives input from numerous sensors, such as steering wheel angle, vehicle speed, and engine RPM. The computer then adjusts the support offered by the power steering motor to make steering the car easier for the driver.
How Power Steering Works?
There are two power steering systems: hydraulic and electric.
- Hydraulic – It uses a pump to pressurize a fluid, which is then used to assist the driver in turning the wheels. This type of system is widespread in older vehicles.
- Electric – It uses an electric motor to assist the driver. Because of its enhanced fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs, this technology is becoming more widespread in current vehicles.
The video below shows how power steering works.
How Can You Tell If The Power Steering Is Broken?
There are various indicators that the power steering system is malfunctioning. Some of the most prevalent signs are:
- Whining noise while turning: When turning the steering wheel, a whining sound may signal a problem with the power steering pump or a low quantity of power steering fluid.
- Steering wheel vibration: If the steering wheel rattles or shakes, it could indicate a problem with the power steering system or other steering components.
- The steering wheel is more difficult to turn: If the steering wheel seems heavier than usual or requires more effort to turn, it could be a sign that the power steering is malfunctioning.
- Squealing noise while turning: When moving the steering wheel, a squealing noise may indicate a problem with the power steering belt or pulley.
- Steering wheel not returning to center: If the steering wheel does not return to its original position after turning, it may indicate a problem with the power steering system or other steering components.
Likewise, if you notice any of these signs, you should have your system checked by a mechanic to identify and repair the issue.
Can You Drive Without Power Steering?
Yes, it is possible to drive without power steering. However, driving without power steering can be difficult, especially for drivers who are too used to their system’s assistance. Here are some of the reasons why this might be difficult.
Using more effort to spin the wheels
The main challenge of doing this is the extra effort necessary to spin the wheels, especially at low speeds and tight corners. This might be particularly challenging if you are an older driver or have physical disabilities.
After all, you must use more bodily strength to turn the wheel without power steering. This can lead to weariness and make driving for extended periods more difficult.
Difficulty in making quick steering adjustments
In emergency scenarios, such as avoiding an obstacle or swerving to avoid a collision, the lack of power steering assist can make quick and precise steering adjustments more difficult.
Difficulty in controlling your car
The lack of power steering can also make controlling the vehicle more difficult, especially at high speeds or in severe weather conditions such as strong winds or heavy rain.
Difficulty in parking and reversing
It can also be risky when parking or reversing, as the extra effort required to move the wheel might make it challenging to manage the vehicle precisely. In these scenarios, this can increase the likelihood of a collision or accident.
Here is a video to help you see how difficult it can be when driving without power steering.
Considerations When Driving Without Power Steering
If you find yourself in a scenario where you must drive without power steering, keep the following tips in mind:
- Drive at lower speeds: Driving at lower speeds makes turning the wheel easier and reduces the effort necessary to maneuver the car.
- Use both hands: Using both hands to hold the steering wheel will help distribute the effort required to turn the wheel more evenly between both arms.
- Allow extra space: If you don’t have power steering, you may need more room to turn or handle the car.
- Avoid making sudden movements: To avoid oversteering or losing control of the vehicle, make steady, progressive turns and motions.
- Check your tires: Make sure your tires are correctly inflated and in good condition since this will make steering easier.
How Much Does It Cost To Repair Power Steering?
The cost of repairing or replacing a power steering system varies based on the vehicle’s make and model, the kind of power steering system, and the location of the repair.
This table below provides an estimate of the expenses for several common power steering repairs:
|Power steering pump replacement||$500 – $800|
|Power steering rack or gearbox replacement||$500 – $1,500|
|Power steering hose replacement||$300 – $500|
|Power steering fluid flush||$15 – $130|
|Electric power steering control module replacement||$800 – $900|
When purchasing a new vehicle or maintaining an old one, it is crucial to consider the cost of a power steering system.
Additionally, consider the expense of maintenance, such as power steering fluid and filter replacement, which can mount up over time.If you’re wondering if it’s possible to drive without power steering, the answer is yes, but it can be challenging and requires more effort to maneuver your vehicle. If you’re looking for more information on driving without certain car components, check out our articles on driving without a CV axle and driving without coolant. Our article on driving without a CV axle discusses the impact on your vehicle’s drivetrain, while our article on driving without coolant explores the risks of engine overheating and damage. With these resources, you can make an informed decision on how to proceed with your car issues and ensure the long-term health of your vehicle.
Here are a few more questions you might be asking yourself now.
No. Driving without power steering is not unlawful. However, it is critical to be aware of the risks of driving without power steering and to take the required procedures to ensure safe driving.
Yes, it can damage your car. If your vehicle’s power steering is hydraulic, your fluid pump could fail. However, if it is electric, it does not have a fluid pump, so your fluid pump will not fail.
There is no stated time limit for driving without power steering. If you discover any indicators of a problem with the power steering system, have it checked and repaired as soon as possible to guarantee safe driving.
Power steering is a helpful technology that makes driving easier, but can you drive without power steering? Driving without it might be more difficult, especially for older drivers or those with physical disabilities.
If you do not have power steering, be prepared to use more effort to turn the wheel and make changes accordingly. It is feasible to drive without power steering with little care and attention. However, if you have power steering problems, you should visit a mechanic to avoid any potential risk.