Q: Is there a difference between a hydraulic and an electric power steering system?
A: Yes. Hydraulic power steering systems use a pump to send pressurized fluid to the hydraulic steering gear, where pressurized fluid assists the driver to move the steering gear. Electric power steering systems do not use fluid; instead, they use an electric motor and sensors to move the steering gear.
Q: Can I tell if my vehicle uses an electric or a hydraulic power steering system?
A: Yes. If there is a power steering pump mounted to your vehicle's engine, or your owner's manual calls for power steering fluid, then your vehicle uses a hydraulic power steering system. If your vehicle's engine does not have a power steering pump or your owner's manual indicates your vehicle does not require power steering fluid, then your vehicle uses an electric power steering system.
Q: Are there signs that can indicate my vehicle needs an alignment?
A: Yes. Uneven tire wear, vehicle pull, or an off center steering wheel may indicate that your vehicle requires an alignment.
Q: Will I be able to steer my vehicle if my power steering goes out?
A: Yes. You will be able to steer your vehicle if the power steering goes out for both hydraulic and electric power steering systems. It will require more effort, especially at lower speeds. If your vehicle has electric power steering, a ‘service steering system' light will likely be apparent before it is realized that the power assist is off. If your power steering goes out, have the system inspected and repaired as soon as possible.