Category Archives: Steering

Have a Ball! Know your Ball Joints (Ball Joints)

We all have joints in our own skeletal system, but did you know your vehicle has some joints of its own? One of the most important is called a ball joint. One of the interesting things is that it's somewhat similar to the ball and socket joints we have in our hips and shoulders.  A ball joint allows two parts it joins together to move in more than one direction at the same time. Think about your wheels.  They have to move up and down when there are bumps in the road but in sideways directions when you are making a turn. As you can see, the ball joints are important for your steering and handling to work correctly. Since ball joints do so much, they can wear out and become loose.  When the ball wears down or the socket gets worn, there can be too much play in them.  It can get so bad that the ball can come out of the socket and your wheel can fall off, a dangerous situation.  Ball joints can also seize up.  Some of them are sealed and never require maintena ... read more

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Steering

That Squeal is Telling You Something (What Causes Squealing While Steering)

If you hear a squealing noise when you turn your vehicle, it's trying to tell you something is wrong.  After all, it never made that noise before, right?  The sound  you hear may becoming from a few sources.  Let's take a look (or a listen) to some of the possibilities. First, you almost certainly have power steering in your vehicle. Without power steering, you practically have to have arms like Arnold Schwarzenegger to turn, so automakers have technology to assist your steering, either mechanically or electrically.  For a long time, the most common power steering has been hydraulic, using a belt to supply power from the engine that turns a power steering pump full of a fluid that helps you steer.  Sometimes that fluid gets low because of a leak or some other problem.  The belt could wear out and start squeaking, and you might feel the steering start to become harder.  Your service repair facility can figure out the problem and offer some solutio ... read more

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Steering

STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT STEERING (Loose Steering)

Perhaps you've heard someone use the term "loose steering." And it's pretty much what it sounds like.  You turn the steering wheel and the vehicle's wheels don't seem to go exactly where you thought you were pointing them.  You have to constantly make steering adjustments.  Loose steering is sloppy steering, and it can be a safety hazard.  You need to be able to control your vehicle with pretty much the same precision as the way it was when it came off the assembly line.   If the steering in your vehicle is starting to feel loose and sloppy, there may be some significant suspension issues that need examining by a trained technician. How do you know if your vehicle needs to be looked at? Try turning the steering wheel and see how much play is in it.  One rule of thumb: if you can turn it the distance of a quarter and a dime placed side by side without seeing the outside wheels move, it's time to have it inspected by one of our technicians. Our PONTE'S ... read more

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Steering

Steering Clear in Wilmington

Those who know vehicles believe the steering system may be the most vital component of them all. Perhaps you've found over the years your steering has gotten loose. Or maybe suddenly, your steering wheel has gotten very hard to turn. Let's steer you in the direction of understanding why this may be happening. First, loose steering. This can likely be the result of wear and tear on the components that connect the steering mechanism with the wheels. Those parts can be ball joints, Pitman arms or tie rods. These parts take a lot of abuse on the road, thanks to railroad tracks, potholes, uneven surfaces: you name it. It's important that they be checked regularly and maintained at PONTE'S AUTOCARE. Second, the hard-to-turn wheel. Virtually all vehicles on the road have power steering. There are a couple of different types, though, so let's deal with each. By the way, when they fail, your vehicle's steering can suddenly go from easy peasy to really hard to control. Some vehicles have hydraul ... read more

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Steering

Power Steering Service in Wilmington

Most Wilmington drivers are too young to remember life before power steering - cranking those great big steering wheels! It was a pretty good workout. Now power steering is standard. Let's look at how it works. The heart of any power steering system is its pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid that provides assist for steering. Most pumps are driven by a belt that is run by the engine; a few are electrically powered. A high-pressure hose passes fluid from the pump to the steering gear. A low pressure hose returns the fluid back to the pump.These hoses can develop leaks, so it is a good idea for Wilmington drivers to have them inspected at every oil change. Low fluid can damage the power steering pump. That is why power steering fluid level is on the checklist for a full-service oil change. The fluid needs to be compatible with the hoses and seals, so check your owner's manual for the right type - or just ask your friendly and knowledgeabl ... read more

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Steering

Right or Left? PONTE'S AUTOCARE Power Steering Service

Have you ever driven a vehicle without power steering? If you have, then you probably appreciate how much easier it is to drive today's modern vehicles. Before power steering, all of the force to turn a vehicle had to come from the driver's arms. That's why old cars had such large steering wheels: they needed plenty of leverage to steer. There were some Wilmington folks who had difficulty driving because they just weren't strong enough.Power steering is now standard on all vehicles, but there are several ways that power can be delivered. Most vehicles use a hydraulic power steering system system. In this system, a serpentine belt from the engine powers a pump that pressurizes the power steering fluid. The pressure activates hydraulics that provides steering power.Other vehicles use an electric pump to pressurize the power steering fluid rather than the belt-driven pump. Some newer vehicles actually have electric motors that provide steering power and don't use steering ... read more

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Steering

The Straight and Narrow: Power Steering Service at PONTE'S AUTOCARE

Service to a vehicle's power steering system is part of preventive maintenance for  Wilmington auto owners. This system provides power to the steering wheel so you can turn it with ease. Without power steering, all of the power to turn your vehicle's wheels would have to come from you.The central element of most power steering systems is a pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid, and it is this pressure that provides auxiliary steering power. A belt connected to the engine usually powers the pump, although some systems use an electric pump. Some newer vehicles have an electric motor that directly provides the power steering boost.Pressurized fluid moves from the pump to the steering gear through a high-pressure hose. A low-pressure hose returns fluid to the pump. Power steering fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the system.Wilmington drivers should remember that fluid levels in the power steering system should be checked at every ... read more

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Steering

Steer Right in Wilmington

Virtually all vehicles come with power steering, so many Wilmington drivers have never driven a car or truck without it. Power steering assists you when you turn your vehicle steering wheel. Without it, it would be very hard to steer. Now this power assist comes in a couple of forms. In recent years, a lot of vehicles have an electric motor that reduces steering effort and helps improve performance and handling. The other kind of power steering is hydraulic. This is the kind most older Delaware vehicles — and a lot of newer ones — have. Power steering fluid is pressurized by a pump and is used to assist steering. Of course, vehicles need the right amount of fluid in the system. If it's too low, your steering is affected and you could damage your vehicle pump. Also, power steering fluid can become corrosive over time and damage the pump, hoses and connectors, leading to leaks and repairs. Power s ... read more

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Steering

Defensive Driving in Wilmington, Delaware

  There was a man in the Wilmington area who learned that most car accidents occur within a mile of home – so he moved. (Just kidding!)When we think of defensive driving, we often focus on our local Delaware highway situations. The fact of the matter is we need to be just as careful close to home in Wilmington, because that's where we do most of our driving. We can't let our familiar surroundings keep us from driving defensively.Defensive driving begins with the proper attitude. Have in mind that you won't let anyone take your safety away from you. You'll be aware of your surroundings, road conditions, other vehicles and hazards. And the first person to be concerned with is you: start with your own environment.Don't leave without securing all occupants including children and pets. Watch for loose items that can become projectiles during evasive maneuvers.Driving too fast or too slow increases the chance of an accident.Never drive impaired: Alcohol is a ... read more

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Steering

Stay Headed in the Right Direction, Wilmington

Power steering is standard on nearly every vehicle in Wilmington, Delaware, these days. Now there are some exotic, new types of power steering systems, but for the most part, the general setup is a pump that's driven by a belt powered by the engine. Contact the automotive professionals at PONTE'S AUTOCARE in Wilmington for questions about your power steering. The pump generates power that assists drivers as they steer their vehicle around Wilmington, Delaware. Power steering systems use hoses to move pressurized fluid back and forth. These hoses can develop leaks so it's a good idea to have PONTE'S AUTOCARE inspect them at every oil change. A check of the power steering fluid level is on the list for every full service oil change at PONTE'S AUTOCARE because low fluid can damage the power steering pump. And the fluid needs to be compatible with the hoses and seals, so it's important to use the correct type – just ask your service ... read more

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Steering
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