If your vehicle came with a tow package or a performance package most of the time it will include a power steering cooler. The cooler is necessary for these applications to maintain proper fluid temperature. But what if you add a trailer hitch or increase the performance of your vehicle from the OEM’s intent? In that case it may be worth it to add a power steering fluid cooler in order to prevent overheating of crucial power steering components. Excessive turning or turning while hauling more weight than initially intending can be overwhelming for the power steering system and the excess friction will turn into heat. If the fluid is not given a chance to cool down, it will become less viscous, which can increase the power steering pressure resulting in leaks and power steering failure.
Is it ok to bypass a power steering cooler? If your vehicle came from the manufacturer with a power steering fluid cooler, it is not in your best interest to bypass the cooler. The system has been tested during development and the engineers deemed the cooler necessary to maintain proper power steering function. In fact, if your vehicle is under manufacturer's warranty, removing a power steering cooler will void your warranty. Bypassing the power steering cooler will eventually result in a greater cost than just replacing it when it fails. The replacement of a power steering pump or steering gear is a much greater cost than a power steering cooler. If you have any questions on the power steering system, reach out to the professionals in our Ask the Experts forum.
Is a Power Steering Cooler Worth It
How necessary is a power steering cooler? Well, if the vehicle came equipped with one from the manufacturer, they deemed it was necessary in order to maintain proper power steering fluid temperature. Power steering fluid has an operating temperature that is required to be maintained in order for power steering systems to operate as designed. If the fluid exceeds the intended operating temperature pre-mature failure and inconsistent power steering assist.