Can you help me with a problem with my minivan. I was in a supermarket. I pulled away. I lost my steering and breaks. I had no prior problem before. I lived only a mile and a half away. I drove with a lot of stress. Steering unbearable and had to use 2 feet on my breaks to stop. Could you give me some advice on what and where to check?
first thing you do is check the accessory drive belt, with the engine off
Is it there?
If it’s missing or doesn’t have good tension, you need to correct that. If it’s there, but has no tension, it could be due to a bad tensioner
You may also have a massive power steering fluid leak
that would explain why the steering wheel is now very hard to turn. But if the belt is missing, then the power steering pump isn’t operating, and I’ll explain in just a minute why that also affects your brakes
you have a hydraulic brake booster, which is literally tied into the power steering system. So if you’re low on power steering fluid, that will affect the brake booster . . .
check the power steering fluid level with the engine idling
If the level is drastically low, the leak might be at the hydraulic brake booster, power steering pump, steering gear box, or one of the various hoses and/or lines. I believe you might even have a power steering fluid cooler, If so, you need to check that, as well
And if you don’t see power steering fluid dripping, it might be because there’s literally nothing left to leak out. You’re going to have to look at all of those components I mentioned. Use an extremely bright flashlight and a handheld telescoping mirror, the kind you buy at sears, autozone, etc.
Of course, the best way to check is to put the van on 4 jack stands and slide under the vehicle using a creeper
Are you in a position to do any of those things I mentioned?
Even if you don’t have a jack and jackstands, you should be able to look at some of those components with the flashlight and handheld telescoping mirror