Power steering is a system that helps steer the vehicle so that only a modest amount of effort is required from the driver. The power steering belt is made of flexible material with one flat side and one grooved side. The belt is wrapped around several pulleys while maintaining a certain amount of tension on the belt at all times. In modern vehicles, one belt, called the serpentine belt, controls the entire system. Older car models, such as those produced before the late 1990s, might have multiple belts with each one controlling a single component. The modern serpentine belt moves power along to several components of the engine, including the power steering system, alternator and air conditioning system. The driver must exert far more energy when the belt is broken because the power steering components will not turn.
Keep in mind:
- When the belt breaks, the power steering will stop working.
- The belt may become slack, which will cause it to wear faster and slip; it can cause the steering to feel heavy and jerky.
- You may hear a loud screeching noise when you start the engine.
- Our expert mechanics can make necessary adjustments if a belt is too tight or too loose.
How it’s done:
- The hood is opened and the serpentine belt is removed for access to the power steering belt.
- The power steering belt is removed by loosening the power steering pivot and adjuster bolts then pushing down on the pump.
- The new power steering belt is installed onto the pump and the pump is pulled up to tighten the belt. The adjusting and pivot bolts are tightened.
- The serpentine belt is reinstalled and the pulley alignment is checked.
- The engine is run and the power steering system operation is checked.
The belt and power steering system should be inspected by our expert mechanics at least every six months or every 6,000 miles. The tension of the belt can be adjusted, which will prevent the belt from breaking if caught in time. Once a belt has been replaced, you should test the vehicle to see how well it steers. Our expert mechanics will test drive the vehicle after replacing the belt in case of any needed adjustments.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Power Steering Belt?
- Belt looks worn
- Belt breaks or the steering becomes difficult
- You hear a squealing noise
How important is this service?
If the power steering belt breaks, the vehicle will be difficult to steer leading to dangerous situations. Ignoring the replacement of the power steering belt when it is worn during regular maintenance could result in its failure.