Yes, it is certainly possible to drive without power steering. However, you will only be hastening the damage to other parts of the system by continuing to do so. You will also compromise safety when parking or taking hard turns.
Can You Drive Without Power Steering?
To cut things short, yes, you can drive your car without power steering. The basic tells us that when the steering wheel is rotated, the force is transmitted to the steering rack utilizing a worm gear. A good hydraulic booster helps you thanks to the pressure created.
It is not uncommon to experience difficulties with the power steering system. This issue can be frustrating and annoying. However, the hassle is worth taking if you can ensure the safety of yourself and the passengers while maintaining a smooth driving experience.
As far as safety is concerned, it will certainly be compromised. If you continue to drive your car without power steering, it will cause damage to your vehicle. The symptoms will be gradual, but certain.
However, if the oil is not pumped for a certain reason, the steering wheel will become stiff. As a result, you as the driver will have a hard time turning the steering wheel. It needs no telling how dangerous of a situation this might create.
Is It Legal to Drive Without Power Steering
In most cases, you will not get in trouble for driving without power steering in emergencies. However, in some states, it is against the law to drive without power steering as it poses a threat to you and other drivers on the road.
If you get into an accident while driving without power steering, you might get sued for negligence. Even if driving without power steering is not seen as illegal, you will have a hard time getting yourself out of such situations.
Consequences of Driving Without Power Steering
Driving without power steering can be life-threatening if you are not careful enough. The fact is that if you insist on doing so, you will end up with more than one problem.
Steering fluids leaking is one of the first major risks you might come across initially. These fluids are engineered to stay sealed and are not meant to leak. A small leak may not be an issue of concern.
However, if the leak grows bigger, the fluid will drop below the MIN level. As a result, the steering pump will run dry and the consequent metal-to-metal contact will create immense heat. This will cause severe damage to your vehicle.
As stated above, when the fluid leakage is severe, the steering pump will run dry and increase the metal-to-metal contact. It will generate a whining or groaning noise with intense heat. The steering wheel will become stiffer than normal and you will find it difficult to turn at a standing point according to your will.
Damage to the Power Steering Pump
The function of the power steering pump is to send fluid to the steering rack and pinion. The outcome is the required pressure that is needed to turn the wheels smoothly. However, if the fluid level drops below the minimum range, the excess friction will cause the system to overheat and the fluid will lose its lubricating properties.
The leakage of steering fluid must be dealt with as soon as possible. Otherwise, it will most definitely damage the power steering pump.
How Long Can You Drive Your Car Without Power Steering?
You may be prompted to drive your car without power steering depending on the situation. The good news is that you can drive with a low-power steering fluid up to some distance before refilling it and it will barely have any effect.
However, you should not insist on driving when the fluid level has dropped below the minimum level. The limit is around five minutes. Anything more than that will cause damage to the seals and gaskets on the pump. The imminent effect will be premature wear on the pump.
What Happens If You Drive Your Car Without Power Steering Fluid?
The power steering fluid is what provides lubrication to the steering pump vanes. If you drive your car without power steering fluid, it will increase friction and the resultant heat will damage the drive belt. This will also facilitate the breakage of the shaft and the rack seal.
The alarming fact is that a steering fluid leak expands if not fixed on time. Although, at the early stage, you can afford to drive with a minimal steering fluid leak. However, you will need more workforce to turn the wheel. Do not try to turn hard right or left and refill the fluid tank as early as possible.
Can You Steer a Car Without Power Steering?
When the fluid leakage is at its initial stage, you can drive your car without power steering. However, even at that stage, you will find it arduous to turn the steering wheel. Moreover, when turning right or left, you will be putting yourself in a dangerous situation and potentially breaking the law.
Once the fluid level drops below the minimum, the extreme metal-to-metal contact will increase overheating and damage the steering pump. You will hear loud noises coming from the engine and that is when you know that you should not drive any further.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did my power steering go out?
There could be several reasons why your power steering could go out. Any stretching, corrosion, fraying, or breakage can cause the system to fail immediately. Power steering light might flash as a result. That is why regular maintenance and checking are necessary for any signs of wear or damage.
How much does it cost to fix power steering?
Fixing power steering can be costly. If you DIY, it can cost between $100 to $200. If you get it done by a mechanic, it can cost about half a grand. This cost is not even close to the expense of replacing the vehicle.
How do you know if the power steering is broken?
If your power steering is broken, you will hear a whining noise whenever you turn the wheel. Also, the steering wheel will be slow to respond and feel stiff.
While driving without power steering is possible, it does not give you a pleasing experience and compromises safety. The discomfort and unpleasant sound with stiffness in the steering wheel is certainly not what you want during driving. So, take the problem to a mechanic and have it solved as soon as possible.