9 Symptoms of Bad Steering Power

If your steering wheel is stiff, the power steering belt has damaged, or if you hear some squealing noises, there are fluid leaks and others, then you should replace your power steering pump. If you just currently acquired a vehicle and doesn’t know these things, you might always ask yourself “what’s happening in my card and what to do with it”?


Importance of Power Steering

Power steering allows the driver a little effort to maneuver the car. Before the power steering is invented, a driver has to use much force to be able to move the steering wheel. If you are going move the steering wheel, a wheels torque would be provided by the hydraulic pump. This is the reason why you are only able to give not so much of effort. When the steering pump fails, the probability is that accidents will happen.


There are symptoms of a power steering pump that is already failing, which I will give to you, so if you notice that you are experiencing it, the pump should be inspected by a professional mechanic. Don’t take these symptoms for granted because in the future it might affect the car’s whole system and will become irreparable.

1. Squealing Noise

The steering pump is faulty when you turn the vehicle, and you hear whining noises, it's also failing when there are squealing noises as you start the vehicle. These noises also happen if you make sharp turns, but this will also happen if you start the car. The noise usually comes from the vehicle's hood, and this is a bad sign that the steering pump has damaged and caused the belt to slip.

2. Noise When Turning the Wheel

If you're turning the wheel of your vehicle and you hear a whining noise, there is something wrong in the power steering system. It could either be that the fluid level is low or there is a leak in the steering pump. If you will leave it this way, especially the fluid level, there's a possibility that the whole power steering system will be damaged. Whether you experience either of the two or both, the steering pumped should be checked and replaced.

3. Fluid Levels

It's also important to check the fluid level. If you observed that the fluid is consistently low, there is a leak in the internal system that needs to be repaired. You will usually spot this leak in the steering line.

When you check it, try to smell a distinctive odor and look for red splashes. If there's a leak in the fluid, it's a direct symptom of a failing pump. That's why you have to carefully monitor it. It will be noticeable when your vehicle can't retain fluids. This is usually caused by a cracked reservoir, so you have to check other signs that are related to steering pump to be able to identify the problem.

4. Stains on the Driveway

If you did not check the fluid level, odor, and color because the car's indicator hasn't tripped, one of the signs is the stains on the driveway. It can usually be found on from the car. A leak is a direct sign of the failing pump, so when you discover stains near the front tire on the driver's side, have your pump checked.

5. Steering Wheel's Response is Slow

When you turn the wheel on the corner, if the steering responds slowly to the steering wheel, there is a chance that the steering pump is not working well. Together with this slow response is a whining noise you will hear. So, if these two symptoms are observed, the steering pump should be checked and replaced.

6. Vibrating Steering Wheel

A correct amount of tension is needed for the drive belt because it might cause failure on your power steering pump. If the belt breaks, it means that the pulley is not functioning well. If the steering wheel is vibrating very harshly, this might mean that there's a failure in the drive belt. Check it once in a while and see if the proper tension is achieved.

7. The Steering Wheel is Stiff

If the steering wheel responds slowly and also stiff, the steering pump is failing too. It's going bad when the steering wheel is stiff you have to get it checked. The moment that you heat the unusual noises from your car and the steering feels stiff and responds slowly; you should get your power steering pump checked and replaced if needed.

8. Groaning Noises

The groaning noises are worse than the squealing noises that a failing steering pump will cause. If the system is failing due to lack of fluid, there's a possibility that the whole system might be damaged, so you better take note of the moments when your vehicle gives off a lot of groaning noises. It includes the steering lines and rack which requires a total replacement.

9. Steering Fluid's Look

If the fluid is old, it will lead to a power steering failure because it causes the tubes to gum up. This tube moves the fluid. The looks of the fluid will give you ideas about the power steering pump. A new fluid's odor is distinctive, and its color is red. If it’s already dark gray, it signals oxidation.

If there are bubbles or foams in the fluid, it indicated that there is air or water in the power steering line. You can also check there are flakes of corn in the fluid because it's a sign of power steering pump degradation.

You already know that the steering pump is an important component of your vehicle and is also a safety issue, so you have to be mindful of the symptoms that indicate a steering pump failure. I hope that you learned those symptoms in this article and that you remember every single one of them.

Start checking them now to avoid more issues in the future. If the symptoms are already prevalent in your vehicle, you should consider replacing it and call a professional mechanic especially if you’re new to these things.

Leave your comments, suggestions, and questions in the comment box below. If you have experiences about steering pump, share it with us!

About the Author Chris Lawrence

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