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What Does the Power Steering System Warning Light Mean?

Warning lights on the dashboard are always concerning. If one pops up that looks like a steering wheel, there's something wrong with the car's power steering. You might be wondering what exactly that means and whether you can continue driving.

Power Steering Basics

All cars from the last few decades have power steering. Manual steering takes a lot of effort, and power steering relieves that. The system could be either hydraulic or electric, with the latter becoming more common. If there's an issue with the system, the car will automatically disable power steering until it has been fixed.

Power Steering Warning Light Causes

Hydraulic Systems

The warning is likely letting you know that the car is low on power steering fluid. Check the level right away and fill it if you can. However, if there's fluid loss, there's a leak somewhere. If the fluid level isn't low, there's another issue that will need diagnosing.

Electric Systems

Occasionally, little glitches in your car's computer system will indicate there's an issue even though there are none. In this case, restarting your car will clear the warning light and you'll be good to go. If the warning is still there once you turn the car back on, it'll need to be diagnosed by a professional.

Can I Still Drive?

When a car's power steering warning light is on, it disables the power steering. It won't re-enable until the light has turned off. The car is still driveable, but manual steering requires a lot more work. That alone makes it difficult, but the problem is exacerbated if you're not used to manual steering. Maneuvering and turning will be a challenge that could lead to accidents. Avoid driving it if you can.

If you see the power steering warning light come on, a quick restart could fix it. If it doesn't, however, you'll need to get your car looked at a soon as possible. Until the light turns off, you'll be stuck with manual steering. If you need power steering repair, give Kwik Kar Auto Repair a call today!

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