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 power steering fluid there’s a chance it’s a worn power steering pressure hose or a rack seal or even the pump seal. Doing a visual inspection to figure out the source of this issue.
2. Stains on Driveway
Power steering fluid can be a range of colors. New fluid can be red or a clear amber color. Be sure to check what kind of fluid your car takes as there are many vehicle specific fluids that are not interchangeable with other manufacturers. With most cars the fluid over time can turn almost black. That indicates aluminum in the fluid from wear in the pump or rack. We recommend having your power system flushed if you notice that.
Squealing noises particularily when you turn the wheel as you take a sharp corner would likely be a loose or worn power steering belt. Inspect the belt for cracks, looseness or deep grooving and tighten or replace them as needed.
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 and air gets sucked into the pump, the steering will start to whine and groan and if continued to be ignored, can then be hard and stiff to turn. Don’t let the pump run “dry” as it will wear the pump out quickly and be in need of replacement.
5. Can’t find the reservoir or pump?
If you have a newer vehicle, and you open the hood to look for the power steering pump or the reservoir and can’t find it, it could be that your vehicle is equipped with electric assist steering! Newer technology has changed the way of steering to reduce weight and production cost. Questions are welcome, we are happy to help any way we can.