Question about 1996 Audi A4

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Your advice I'm planning on doing what you suggested (follow the hose from the reservoir to find if there is a leak), but what do I do once I figure out if there is a leak? I'm a girl, not that its an excuse, but I'm stereotypically clueless about cars. Rescue me please ;)

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Are the power steering lines connected to the oil lines somehow? Just before my power steering crapped out, I would top up the pump reservoir only to blow white smoke out the tailpipe all the way home. How...

Hi. Your power steering pump hoses are closed looped. They run from the pump assembly to the reservoir.They do not run to any of your oil lines. Now, with that said, i would recommend to inspect your assembly for possible leaks. This is a high pressure setup that will produce leaks during hose or clamp failure. The reservoir can crack as well. This will cause fluid to leaks on the engine block or exhaust manifold, thus, causing the white smoke or burn off affect. Use the procedure below to inspect for possible loose hoses or compromised pump seals and reservoir issues.

Once you have staged your vehicle in a safe place, open the hood and locate your power steering system on your vehicle. The easiest way is to follow the part of the steering column assembly that goes through the firewall. Follow the components connected to the steering column all the way to the wheel assemblies and hoses connected to the power steering pump and reservoir. Attempt to scrub wet and dirty components around the steering system, using shop rags if the leak source is not readily apparent. Now,start the engine, rotating the steering wheel all the way from left to right several times to increase system pressure in the pump and hoses. Turn off the engine and inspect the system from the engine compartment, using a flashlight preferably. In some cases, you might have to wait one or two days for the leak to reveal itself . Next, check around the power steering pump, for possible cracks. If you find fluid around the pump case, the case is damaged and should be replaced. Some pumps are equipped with internal seals that may be replaced when necessary. Also, look around the reservoir and make sure it is in good condition. A cracked reservoir must be replaced as well.

Now, look around all fittings and hoses. A loose fitting cannot contain the high pressure in the system. Tighten clamps using a Phillips or flathead screwdriver or ratchet and socket, depending on the type of fitting or clamp used in your system. Additionally, check along the hoses for cuts. If possible, run your fingers along the length of the hose to find hidden wet spots. A hose leaking somewhere along the middle will have to be replaced. If the gash is very close to the end of the hose, you might be able to cut off the damaged part and reconnect the hose to the component. You will also need to Check the metal lines connecting the steering gear assembly to other components. A ruptured metal line must be replaced.

Lastly; Inspect completely around the rubber boots located between the ends of the steering gear assembly and the arms linking the assembly to the wheels. If fluid is leaking at either end, then the seals at the ends of the steering gear assembly will need to be replaced. If necessary, raise the front end of the vehicle using a floor jack and support it on jack stands or ramps. Once the vehicle is safely supported, inspect the steering gear assembly more closely to see if it is in good or bad condition . Make sure you check all the ares above for possible leaks or loose connections before replacing the entire pump.

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