3 Common Clogged Power Steering Line Symptoms – Causes and Fixes

There are two lines in power steering systems: a high-pressure line and a low-pressure line. The double-flared compression fittings are typical for high-pressure lines, which are made of a strengthened synthetic material.

Although the low-pressure line is built similarly, it might not need compression fittings because of the lower pressure.

Power Steering Line Types

Power steering lines go into one of two broad categories: high- and low-pressure. To withstand up to 1,500 psi, high-pressure power steering cables can have up to five layers. The fluid cannot penetrate the outer layers because the inner layers are impermeable to it.

The line will have strength against high-pressure thanks to the subsequent inner layer. High-tech polymer materials and fabrics can be used to create these layers. These power steering cables have an outer layer that is intended to shield the inner layers from heat, chemicals, and abrasion.

Low-pressure power steering cables are made to tolerate less pressure and have fewer layers in their construction. However, they must be equally resistant to engine bay elements.

A line that complies with or surpasses SAE J2050 should be used in high-pressure power steering line assemblies. The power steering cables and fittings are subjected to a torturous test in this standard procedure that ranges from -40 to 150 °C (-40 to 302 °F) and 1,500 psi maximum working pressure.

The SAE J189 or J188 type should be used for low-pressure/return lines. Although only tested to 250 psi, this type of line must withstand the same temperature range as the SAE 2050 line.

If a high-pressure line needs to be changed, it is strongly advised that the low-pressure line be replaced as well.


A power steering fluid reservoir and pulley-driven pump by CZmarlin. A pressurized line carries the steering fluid from the pump to the steering box or rack. Through a second low-pressure connection, the fluid is transferred back to the reservoir. This is made possible via the power steering system, which enables quick, jerky direction changes by the driver.

What Is the Role of  Power Steering Lines In the Power Steering System?

The power steering pump sends high-pressure oil to the steering gear through the high-pressure (supply) line. Oil from the steering gear is returned to the pump or its reservoir via the low-pressure (return) line.

What Is a Power Steering Line’s Operating Principle?

By increasing the steering effort of the steering wheel, the power steering system aids in steering in the desired direction.

Power steering fluid is kept in a reservoir that may be close by or positioned far away. The engine of the system is the power steering pump. An accessory belt connects it to the engine, which powers it.

The steering fluid is transferred from the pump to the steering box or rack via a pressurized line. The fluid is returned to the reservoir via another low-pressure connection. The power steering system assists in this by allowing a human to quickly and weakly shift directions.

What Do You Need to Know About the Power Steering Lines?

The fluid is transported by power steering lines from the pump to the rack. Power steering lines can be classified as either high-pressure or low-pressure in terms of pressure. Each time, one goes with the other.

Power fluid from the pump is transferred to the steering mechanism via a high-pressure connection. Back at the pump, the steering fluid travels in a low-pressure pipe. Both of these lines cooperate and apply a moderate amount of pressure on the cars.

The importance of routinely inspecting the power steering line is emphasized by the necessity of a rigorous working environment. Operating pressure frequently reached 1500 psi, with operating temperatures ranging from cryogenics to 300°F.

Power steering lines should be flexible and able to absorb high-pressure pulsations to reduce system noise.

Power steering lines should be able to endure environmental hazards such as ozone, sunshine, oil, grease, and other noxious substances in addition to consistently high temperatures and pressures.

When opposed to internal issues, external causes of line failure are more readily visible. For instance, line degeneration could be a risk if metal flakes, contaminants from worn parts, and line particles flaked from the line simultaneously.

What are the Typical Clogged Power Steering Line Symptoms?

The power steering line helps move power steering fluid from the reservoir to the rack and pump that provide power steering.

Pressure is what makes this drug work. It is possible to use both a high-pressure line and a low-pressure line. Fluid is transferred by a high-pressure tube from the pump to the rack. A low-pressure line transfers the fluid from the rack to the pump.


An EPS module with a partially disassembled steering column by Samf4u / CC BY-SA 4.0. High-pressure and low-pressure power steering lines fall into one of two major groups. High-pressure power steering cables can have up to five layers to resist 1,500 psi. The inner layers are impermeable to the fluid, preventing it from penetrating the outer layers.

Find a qualified mechanic by looking online for car service shops near me if your power steering starts to make noises or you regularly need to top it off.

Low fluid levels, difficulty turning the steering wheel, and power steering fluid leaks are the main signs of a damaged power steering line.

The following indications of a leak or obstruction in the line may be seen:

1. Difficulty In Steering

One of the most obvious symptoms that the power steering line is broken or isn’t working properly is when the steering wheel gets difficult to turn.

If the system does not have enough pressure to supply the power steering fluid to the rack, the automobile will be difficult to turn or do maneuvers that would often be straightforward.

When this happens, contact a certified mechanic by conducting an online search for “car services near me” to have the power steering line inspected and maybe replaced.

2. Power Steering Fluid Leakage

You may have noticed fluid leaking from your automobile, and the culprit might be a leak in the power steering line. It usually has a clear or amber color and smells like burnt marshmallows. If the power steering fluid is old, it may appear like engine oil and still smell like engine oil.

Before booking your next MOT testing service, your automobile should be inspected because this will cause the MOT test to fail, and the power steering fluid should be cleaned up immediately away because it poses a fire risk.

3. Low Level of Power Steering Fluid

Check the amount of the power steering fluid frequently. If you see a sharp decline, this may be a sign that your power steering or steering line is malfunctioning.

Power steering reservoir issues or power steering line leaks may be one cause. To ensure that any issues with the power steering are fixed, a mechanic should locate this problem.

Leaks in the power steering fluid can damage the entire system if they are not repaired right away. As was already mentioned, to avoid an MOT failure, check your car’s MOT condition and make sure all of its fluids are full and not leaking.

When your car is difficult to steer, fluid is under your car, or you need to top off your fluid frequently, have a mechanic check the power steering line and the system itself.

It may also be necessary to flush the entire system for optimal functioning. Power steering is crucial for your safety, thus this issue needs to be resolved right soon.

A Power Steering Line Replacement: What Is It?

When one of the power steering cables fails, it’s a good idea to replace the other one as well, even though it’s not necessary. If you have the proper tools, replacing these lines is a straightforward operation.

While low-pressure lines are normally secured in place with a simple line clamp, some high-pressure line designs need the employment of specialized wrenches for removal and installation.

A car steering system by Lukas 3z / CC BY-SA 4.0. If not immediately fixed, leaks in the power steering fluid might harm the entire system. As was already mentioned, check your car’s MOT condition and make sure all of its fluids are full and not leaking to avoid an MOT failure.

What Does the Power Steering Line Replacement Entail?

Inspecting a power steering line for leaks is the first step in replacing one; a high-pressure line typically sprays fluid in a concentrated stream, whereas a low-pressure line drips fluid.

When the power steering pressure line is disconnected from the gearbox or steering rack, fluid is drained from the pressure line and stored in a drain pan underneath.

At the level of the power steering pump and the gearbox or steering rack, the fittings for the power steering line will be loosened.

Installing the new line along the path of the existing one and tightening the fittings while keeping an eye on the level of tightness to prevent damaging the threaded connections

Power Steering Line Flushing and Bleeding Instructions

Hydraulic pressure is used to operate power steering. Moving massive rocks around is as simple as pressing a few levers once hydraulic pressure is activated in a machine akin to a backhoe.

Concrete block pallets are raised high onto this shelf or by a forklift using hydraulic power. The daily driving experience is greatly facilitated by this hydraulic pressure miracle.

In a car or truck, power steering that uses hydraulic pressure makes turning the steering wheel from left to right effortless. Pneumatics has no place in hydraulic-powered devices.

One of these things is the power steering system. While fluids cannot be compressed, air can. In a hydraulic power steering system, the air has no place.

1. Checking the System for the Presence of Air

There may be some air in there if the formerly quiet and smooth power steering has turned noisy and laborious. What sounds like a somewhat irritated cat under the hood is a solid sign that air is in the system.

When doing maneuvers that require a lot of power steering, like parallel parking, this growling will become louder. The fluid level should be checked as soon as the power steering begins to grumble.

If topping off the fluid reduces the noise and restores the power steering to normal operation, everything is in order. If the moaning resumes shortly after the fluid disappears, assume a leak is the source of both the fluid disappearance and the entry of air into the system.

2.  Power Steering System Bleeding

Power steering pressure lines are frequently held responsible for leaks of power steering fluid. It’s simple to introduce more air while trying to correct the air leak.

Flushing and bleeding the power steering system of air is always a good idea after replacing a power steering pump or pressure line. This is a straightforward procedure for the majority of power steering-equipped vehicles.


Rack and pinion unit mounted in the cockpit of an Ariel Atom sports car chassis by Leonard G / CC SA 1.0. If there is a line failure, the driver might have to exert more effort when steering. Low fluid levels or leaks: The HPS system can be completely turned off if the steering fluid runs out. Cracks in rubber lines, faulty couplings, and other weak points in the system can all result in leaks.

Any extra air in the steering wheel can be purged by turning it repeatedly from lock to lock. Some vehicles—like the Mitsubishi Starion—need to have the power steering bled more thoroughly than usual.

How to Advice On Dealing with Clogged Power Steering Lines

Here are a few recommendations for car maintenance that were gleaned from the service handbook and the wonders of the Internet regarding bleeding power steering systems.

Step 1

Priorities come first. Verify the level of the power steering fluid. Per what the manual advises, check to see if the fluid is hot or cold. Take a reading after a few turns of the steering wheel. The foamy liquid is a sign that air is entering the system.

Step 2

Boost the level of power steering fluid if necessary. Before adding any fluid, make sure the kind is specified in the owners or service handbook.

Step 3

Apply penetrating oil to the bleed valve after locating it. Attach a section of transparent vinyl tubing to the bleed valve’s end. It is preferable to have adequate tubing length than insufficient. The steering wheel can be turned more easily by raising the wheels off the ground using a jack and jack stands.

Step 4

To bleed the system of air and used fluid, run the tubing into a designated catch receptacle. Take care not to deplete the system’s fluid! Start the car. The bleed valve should be slightly opened. From lock to lock, repeatedly turn the steering wheel. Put the bleed valve closed. add liquid Continue until the liquid flows air-free.

Step 5

Running the return line back into the reservoir of fluid, which eliminates the risk of running the system dry, is a possibility if the fluid is known to be brand-new and free of debris. Utilizing baling wire or a rubber band, secure the tubing’s end to the reservoir. Start the car.

The bleed valve should be slightly opened. From lock to lock, repeatedly turn the steering wheel. Once the air has been removed from the power steering fluid, top it off. Before you start driving, do a couple more steering wheel turns and recheck the fluid level.

What Causes the Power Steering Lines to Clog?

Due to high-temperature pulsations, the inner power steering lines degrade. Regular flexing and pressure spikes cause small parts of a line to break off, which are subsequently conveyed throughout the system and may lead to system failure.

A hydraulic system harnesses the force of an object pressing against a liquid to move the steering wheel. These kinds of systems are an efficient approach to driving your car since they can exert extremely strong forces with little energy input.


Honda Prelude Mk III rear steering box by Soyuz72 / CC BY-SA 4.0. Check the power steering fluid level and keep an eye on the lines each time you get your oil changed. When inspecting the lines, look for cuts, abrasions, leaks, stiffness, sponginess, rusted or corroded fittings, and leaks.

However, the hydraulic fluid must be free of contaminants for this harmonious system to function correctly. Contaminated fluid has the potential to damage several parts, including your pump, by wearing down fittings, clogging the steering system, increasing friction, and more.

For this reason, you should replace the power steering fluid in your car at the manufacturer’s suggested interval, which may be found in the owner’s handbook.

What Happens If Clogged Power Steering Lines Leak?

The driver might have to work harder to steer if there is a line failure. Low fluid levels or leaks: If the steering fluid runs out, the HPS system can be entirely turned off. Leaks can be caused by rubber line cracks, bad couplings, and other weak places in the system.

How Often Should You Replace the  Power Steering Lines?

If you keep up with routine maintenance appointments for your car, its power steering system should last well over 100,000 miles. Keep impurities out of the power steering fluid and re-freshen it as necessary.

While the lines may ultimately deteriorate as a result of your car’s normal wear and tear, you shouldn’t have to worry about the power steering system for a very long time.

It’s best to consult your owner’s manual for manufacturer recommendations on maintenance and repairs related to the power steering system, including how frequently to check the fluid and replace the serpentine belt, even though most vehicles will reach the 100,000-mile mark without experiencing a power steering system issue.

Always adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions and ask your neighborhood mechanic any queries you may have about your vehicle’s scheduled maintenance.

Tips and Suggestions for Maintenance of Power Steering Lines

Every time you get your oil changed, check the amount of the power steering fluid and keep an eye on the lines. Look for cuts, abrasions, leaks, stiffness, sponginess, rusted or corroded fittings, and leaks when inspecting the lines.

Replace any lines that exhibit any of these characteristics. Specific advice on the kind of power steering fluid to use can be found in the owner’s manual of your car.

In some circumstances, automatic transmission fluids may be the suggested fluid because they are compatible with the lines and seals. While it is feasible to check the power steering fluid level in a cold vehicle, it is typically advised to do it once the vehicle has warmed up.

The steering system on a vintage car by CZmarlin. Even though the majority of vehicles will pass the 100,000-mile mark without experiencing a power steering system issue, it’s best to consult your owner’s manual for manufacturer recommendations on maintenance and repairs related to the power steering system, including how frequently to check the fluid and replace the serpentine belt.

Look for an outside fluid level mark as many modern vehicles have a power steering fluid reservoir that is semi-transparent. Open the reservoir cover if there are no indications on it.

The level reading should be provided via a little dipstick that is attached. Avoid running the system with insufficient fluid because this can harm the power steering pump.

The Conclusion

Hydraulic fluid is transported from the power steering pump to the steering gear through the power steering pressure line. It keeps the fluid under high pressure but is prone to failure, which can lead to problems with the steering gear and power steering.

Along with the power steering pressure line, some power steering systems may contain additional fluid lines.

Clogs in a power steering line can look exactly like a belt or leak issue. It could be challenging to turn the steering wheel, and owners of the car might hear a whining sound while they do so.

If the obstruction isn’t in the line, it can be in the gears and cause the pump to stop working. A mechanic should clear out gear blockages.


A power steering fluid reservoir and pulley-driven pump by CZmarlin