On a vehicle with power steering, what happens when the power steering goes out while driving? Obviously, it's best to repair the failing power steering component before this happens.

Does steering simply become more difficult, or does the vehicle become nearly impossible to control?

  • Either you can steer it or not... power steering failed on a scammel 6*6 and it needed 2 men to steer...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 19:15
  • The answer depends on how much upper body strength the driver has. Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 20:01

2 Answers 2


Power steering is designed to assist mechanical steering via hydraulic pressure supplied by the power steering pump. If your power steering goes out the orientation of the tires can still physically be controlled by the position of the steering wheel, but it will require much more physical force to operate.

  • Some are more than “assist” with no mechanical connection between steering wheel and turning wheels...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 4:25
  • I've heard of all electric steering concepts but are there any such cars on the road today?
    – rviertel
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 4:32
  • All hydraulic... we used to amuse ourselves counting the free revolutions of the steering wheel per day
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 4:52
  • 1
    This was not limited to cars - you may have made that assumption...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 5:10
  • 1
    It's also more the "all electric concepts" ... the 2014 Infiniti Q50 was steer by wire (SBW). IIRC, it had a triple redundant steering system, which if the three electric systems failed, there was a mechanical backup for it ... but it was considered SBW (at least by Infiniti, lol). Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 14:46

To compensate for loss of zero to low speed turning ability, anticipate what direction you will want to move next and point the wheels that way while you are still rolling. Now when you shift from R back to D, for example, to finish backing out of your driveway there is no problem.

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