Power steering is a component of your vehicle that most drivers don’t appreciate until it’s malfunctioning. Over time, the power steering pump can start leaking. Any loss of power steering fluid will make your steering experience less “power” and more muscle. By understanding the symptoms of a failing power steering pump, you can avoid unsafe driving situations and causing further damage to your car.
1. Low Fluid
Leaking fluid can be identified by topping up the levels and keeping an eye on them. If your car is leaking fluid there’s a high chance a damaged power steering system fluid reservoir is cracked or damaged. Doing a visual inspection for other symptoms related to a power steering pump will help you figure out the source of this issue.
2. Stains on Driveway
Power steering fluid has a dark colour, making it easy to spot a leak that has pooled beneath the drivers’ side near the front tire. Due to the fact that a leak is a major sign of a failing pump, doing a visual inspection to check for a leak should be one of the first things you do. Some say it has a bit of a burnt sugar smell, in case you find some fluid on your driveway and you are not totally sure what it is.
Squealing noises can indicate a faulty steering pump. The noises can occur when you turn the wheel as you take a sharp corner, drive slowly or you might even hear it for a couple of seconds right after you start the car. Any of these signs will point in the direction that you need a replacement.
4. Hard Steering
The purpose of power steering is to assist with vehicle handling and make it easier to steer and drive. This can only happen when there’s enough fluid in the pump, and if the fluid levels drop or air gets into the pump, the steering will be hard and stiff. You may not notice this until you encounter cooler winter temperatures or when you drive at a slower speed.
5. Erratic Behaviour
A broken power steering pump can make the steering wheel dangerously hard to manage. The car may be slow to respond at lower speeds, with a sluggish delay of several seconds after you turn the wheel, which results in driving being unpredictable. These are signs that air has built up, the pump is leaking or something is preventing the fluid from flowing properly
If you notice any of these issues with your vehicle, you need to bring it in to get serviced immediately. Questions are welcome, we are happy to help any way we can.