Depending on the type of braking system your power steering can affect your ability to stop. Can power steering affect brakes? There are two major types of braking systems. There is the brake booster system and the hydro-boost system. While the vacuum system is the most common there are still some vehicles on the road with the hydro-boost.
How does the brake booster work
The brake booster relies on engine vacuum. When your engine is running it creates a vacuum. A vacuum line is hooked up to your brake booster. The brake booster which typically looks like an enclosed oval has a port where your vacuum lines attach.
As you press on your brake pedal a series of chambers open which allows atmospheric pressure to enter. This in turn presses on the diaphragm which helps the rod push forward. This rod is connected to your master cylinder.
When you press the brakes the rod presses the master cylinder which pumps brake fluid to your brakes. The vacuum system helps with pressing the rod forward. Although with brake boosters you need constant vacuum. In addition brake boosters don’t always provide the best pedal feel.
In vehicles with a brake booster system the power steering system is a complete and separate system.
How does the hydroboost system work.
Can power steering affect brakes? With a hydroboost system your brakes rely on your power steering system. Your power steering pump operates as a normal pump in the way it pushed fluid to your rack and pinion. This rack and pinion, otherwise known as a steering rack, has a return line that goes back to the pump.
In a hydroboost system the power steering pump also has a pressurized line going to the hydrobooster. The constant pressure in the hydrobooster is what assists you when you apply the brakes. There is a return line that goes from the hydroboost back to the power steering pump.
As you press on the pedal the power steering fluid creates pressure which makes it easier to push the attached rod forward. Just like the brake boost system the rod attaches to the brake master cylinder which pushes fluid to your brakes,
Can power steering affect brakes?
If you have a vehicle with a hydroboost system power steering can affect the brakes. With not enough fluid circulating you may have a harder time pushing the pedal down. If you are having a difficult time pushing the pedal you may be low on fluid or have a leak somewhere.