HYDRAULIC POWER STEERING VS ELECTRIC POWER STEERING (EPS)

Where is the Automotive repair industry heading to service power steering into the future?

Power Steering Parts of Australia explains that hydraulic steering will still be around for many years but the type of EPS units in most modern vehicles can only be repaired by an experienced specialist Power Steering workshop as opposed to a general mechanical workshop.
The tools to do these overhauls are not cheap and if you try to repair a unit without these tools, Power Steering Parts of Australia warns that you have a high probability of damaging the housing and then you will need to buy a complete new unit as a housing on its own is generally not sold separately by most OE manufacturers.
“Years ago, when the VT Commodore and AU Falcon were popular, the power steering units were being repaired as often as McDonalds sold a Big Mac burger and virtually anyone with a spanner and a screwdriver could repair the them, but this is not the case anymore,” Power Steering Parts of Australia Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Peter McMahon, said.
“Just to replace an inner seal means you may have to cut the piston from the rack shaft without damaging it and then correctly line up and roll in place a new piston,”
“Rarely have we seen anyone get this right on the first and sometimes multiple repairs. This becomes very expensive especially when you quote before you start. Add to this the cost of R&R each time and you will well and truly be in the red.

“With the EPS units it will be many years before many of the experienced specialists are even able to completely repair/service these vehicles. There are a few dedicated specialists working in this field now.
“You now need to be not only a Power steering specialist but also an auto electrician as well. The diagnosis will take time that is an expense only to find that you may have to replace the complete electric motor driving the steering unit.
“In some cases, if you remove the steering unit assembly and do any work on it you will have to re-pair it with the vehicle’s computer. Generally, only the dealers have the computer programs to do this. Some scan tools can be of some help.
“The previous popular sourcing of exchange hydraulic units will not be the same for EPS units. This will not happen for many years as core units are not making any appearances in volumes to make this happen.
“Again, putting a unit into another vehicle will in most cases need them to be re-paired with the computer. Not all are suitable to accept this.
“Some equipment is now available to reprogram the EPS unit before it is re-installed but the cost of suitable equipment is now well above $30k plus ongoing computer program support costs to suit specific vehicles.”

For more from Power Steering Parts of Australia, please visit www.pspa.com.au