Power steering coolers utilize conduction, cooling to pull heat away from the power steering fluid. Conduction cooling is performed by allowing the fluid to flow through tubes or veins that are connected to steel or aluminum fins. The fins in the power steering coolers pull heat away from the fluid as it passes them, and the fins are then cooled by the ambient air outside of the system. Traditionally power steering fluid coolers are placed at the front vehicle, in front of the radiator and AC condenser. This position is referred to as first air, meaning the component gets the air passed over it first prior to it reaching any other cooling components in the vehicle.
While power steering fluid is primarily used as a lubricant it also serves a purpose as a heat reducer. A traditional power steering system features many small moving metal components, and those components generate friction when in motion. The viscosity or thickness of the power steering fluid changes based on the temperature. Power steering fluid that is hot has less viscosity than power steering fluid that is cold. Therefore, if the power steering fluid becomes too hot and the fluid becomes too thin, it loses its ability to properly lubricate the moving components of a power steering system. If the power steering components are not properly lubricated internal failure can result.
Now that you know what power steering coolers do, you can decide on the best replacement part for you. Should you have any other power steering cooler questions, reach out to the technicians in our Ask the Experts forum.
What Does a Power Steering Cooler Do
The power steering cooler is designed to draw heat out of the power steering fluid in order to reduce the stress put on power steering components. Power steering fluid has a flash point of an average of about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Even more important is the power steering component’s ability to be lubricated. The higher the power steering fluid temperature, the less viscous (thick) the power steering fluid becomes, resulting in decreased lubrication