Understanding Power Steering Hoses

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Minnesota Power Steering Hose Services

No matter what kind of vehicle you are operating, automobile to industrial equipment, one of the most overlooked items that should be on your checklist, is the power steering hose.  Oh, sure, it will let you know when there is a problem.  But a regular checklist could prevent downtime for repairs and even waiting for the hose to be delivered.

The power steering system operates with a reservoir that holds the power steering fluid and a pump that is driven by the engine via a belt. Hoses carry the fluid from the reservoir to the steering box and recirculates it back to the reservoir.  It makes the vehicle easy to steer.

Types of Hoses

There are basically two types of power steering hoses: the high pressure hose and the low pressure or return hose.  The high pressure hose is manufactured to withstand higher pressure and temperature than the return hose.  At any time, temps may be over 270 degrees and there can be over 1500 psi.  Power steering fluid is highly flammable so hose integrity is a must.  It carries the fluid under pressure to the steering box.  The low pressure or return hose, does just that…returns the fluid to the reservoir.  It does not carry fluid with temperatures and pressure as high as the high pressure hose, so it is manufactured to withstand the decreased strain.

Check the Fluid

One of the first signs that you may have a leak in your power steering hose is that your vehicle becomes difficult to steer.  That might be the first time that you have checked the amount of fluid in your reservoir.  That’s a good start, but in addition to quantity, you need to look at the quality.  Discolored, grey or black fluid may be a sign that the inner layer of the hose is deteriorating.  The breakdown in the hose is the first step to malfunction.  If, of course, the level of the fluid is down, this could be a sign of a leaking hose or fitting.


Give the hose a once over, checking for abrasion of chafing.  If you find signs that the outside of the hose has been damaged, chances are the inner layers have been compromised as well.  So what has caused the rub?  Check for loose mounts, leaking gaskets, or anything that is out of place and could cause damage to your hose.  Adjust and replace the hose if damaged.

Bulging, Softness

Just like any other hose, if it starts to bulge, it is showing signs of weakness.  Same for a hose that has softened.  This means that the inner layers of the hoses are starting to deteriorate and be compromised.  These hoses should be replaced as soon as possible to prevent an emergency in the near future.

Cracks, Holes

If you observe any holes or visible cracks while doing your inspection, this could be a sign of leakage.  Power steering fluid is highly flammable and can be a hazard if left to leak on your motor.  Do not make the mistake of just refilling the reservoir.  This leak should be addressed immediately.


Take a look at the fittings for your hoses.  Do you notice any corrosion?  Are they tight and secure?  Do you see any wear around the fitting?  Is there any leakage?  Any of these symptoms could be an omen that a replacement is needed.

When it is time to replace one of your power steering hoses, most experts recommend replacement of both.  We can help with replacement and installation with our mobile service.  Custom Hose specializes in unusual metrics, non-standard hoses and fittings.  Contact us for more information.

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