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About Bad Power Steering Pump Symptoms

Published by: Tom
Date of Publish:

The beginning of a safe and sound car journey begins with safe and sound power steering. No matter your car’s make, model, or variant, having trouble with your power steering pump will permanently harm your traveling. So much so that if left unchecked, a bad power steering pump can also lead to dangerous car accidents that could result in severe injuries and even fatalities.

bad power steering pump symptoms

But all of this could be avoided by simply checking your power steering pump and performing its maintenance when required. The good part is that a bad power steering pump doesn’t always ask for a replacement. Sometimes by detecting the error earlier, you could save yourself a good amount of bucks by only replacing the fluid in the system. As a result, you are not just cutting down your maintenance and repair costs but also saving yourself from an otherwise major accident without needing to install/replace new components in your vehicle.

power steering pump

What Is the Power Steering Pump, And What Does It Do?

As the name suggests, this blog article is about bad power steering symptoms, so you need to have a critical understanding of what a power steering pump is, what is its role in your vehicle, and, more importantly, how we know if your power steering pump is out of order or requires a repair touch?

To begin with, a power steering pump is a device in your vehicle that’s primary function is to ensure that all the power steering fluid in your car reaches the different components required to achieve in your steering system. Since we are talking about hydraulic fluid here, which is responsible for the hydraulic power that keeps your car under control on the road. The importance of a properly working pump is always significant.  

With time, power steering pumps begin to reduce their performance as these aren’t designed to perform ideally lifetime. However, the good news is that your power steering pump will show some symptoms before failing, so you have ample time to call to action between the steering pump and pump failure.

For more about replacing a power steering pump, please refer to How to replace power steering pump and How much does it cost to replace a power steering pump

power steering pump

Why Do You Need to Take Your Bad Power Steering Pump Signs Seriously?

There are several things in your four-wheeler that you cannot take for granted when in a vise, and that involves your steering pump. It is because the health and maintenance of your vehicle on the road largely depend upon it. You could drive on the highway on a fine day and end up in the state hospital if your power pump gives up midway. That is why keeping your mechanic’s phone number on the speed dial and keeping an eye on the performance of different parts of your vehicle is a must-do.

However, the good news about your car is that most of its spare parts will begin showing signs of malfunction and failure before losing it altogether. Power steering pumps are no different. When out of order, these vital car components will show ample symptoms to indicate minor or major repair services. The goal is to understand these symptoms, how we can identify them, and what apparent measures we can take to maintain the excellent health of your power steering pump before requiring a complete replacement. Following is the list of most common power steering pump malfunctioning symptoms that, if they appear in your vehicle, must raise alarms.

For more about a bad power steering pump, please refer to How to fix a leaking power steering pump and Signs of power steering pump failure

bad power steering pump

Signs of a Bad Power Steering Pump

• Whining Noise

You cannot have a bad power pump without a whining sound ruining your long drives. The most common symptom before your power steering pump goes wrong is the noise it produces. Behind the wheel, going very pleasant, suddenly you hear a whining sound in your vehicle. The probability that your pump is most likely more significant than any other component in your car.

• The Squeal

The second most common symptom of your pump going out of order is the squealing sound it produces. The sound indicates your power steering pump is running low on fluid and requires quick refueling. This is because when your pump runs low on fluid, it will begin to push harder against its components to produce an equally good performance. The lack of lubrication will ultimately lead to premature wear and tear.  

• The Knocking

Most vehicle owners begin to take things seriously when their four-wheeler makes a knocking sound. You are driving on an empty road, and suddenly, your engine starts producing a knocking sound. The time for a touch-up has arrived. Most likely, your steering pump has gone bad. And this time, the bearings are worn out, causing the knocking sound. Prolonged negligence towards knocking sound issues can lead to losing control over your power steering.  

• Slow Steering Response

Your power steering is called power steering because it exhibits higher energy and quicker responses during the drive than ordinary steering. However, when you have a bad power steering pump, the hydraulic fluid won’t reach the steering gear properly, leading to a slower steering response. When the pressure on the fluid from the pump is reduced, your power steering will ask for higher energy to keep your car free and easy to steer.

• Leaking Fluid

This is not a symptom of a bad pump but rather an outcome. Fluid leakage asks for emergency measures. So, when you notice fluid leaking from your power steering pump, your next destination should be your mechanic’s shop. The fluid leakage in the power steering pump will ultimately lead to the loss of steering fluid which can lead to the loss of power steering in your car.

• Fluid on the Ground

If you have begun to notice fluid marks in your garage or the parking space, the fluid leakage is most likely coming from your lousy steering pump. Your mechanic needs to see your vehicle asap. Also, remember that not all fuel leakages are caused by the bad power steering pump. So, how do we differentiate? It is the color. The fluid leakages from a bad power steering pump are generally red or dark brownish.

• Low Fluid

Besides fluid leakages, a bad power steering pump will also lead your vehicle to lower fluid levels overall. A lack of fluid in the steering system will disturb the pressure generation of the steering pump, and you will have to put extra effort into assisting your steering. Strange and nonrecurrent sounds may also accompany the loss of steering control, and the vehicle might veer to one side of the road instead of going straight.

• Heavy Steering

Since all the symptoms of lousy power are interconnected, you might feel like reading a section repeatedly while we have tried to keep things very detailed and descriptive. Another common sign of a bad power steering pump is heavier steering. This is usually caused by a lack of fluid or leakages, which makes you put in added effort to steer your car smoothly. The moment you feel your steering is behaving a little too heavy, get your power steering pump checked as soon as good.

• Power Steering Symbol on Dashboard

The most legit and automatic sign of a bad pump is the symbol that appears on your dashboard. Until your dashboard is not malfunctioning, this shows that your car’s power steering pump needs a quick checkup.  

These were the primary and most common bad power steering pump symptoms. If you have noticed one or more of these issues, we suggest you get your vehicle checked by a professional as soon as possible. Negligence towards power steering issues can lead to dangerous consequences while driving. So, make sure you check for these symptoms and get your power steering system checked at the first sign of trouble.

Should I Drive with A Bad Power Steering Pump?

Never recommended. Since your safety and your vehicle’s well-being is the primary goal. The idea of continuing to drive your truck despite acknowledging a problem with your power steering pump can lead to severe damage. It is your decision. Whether to pay some quick bucks and get your power steering pump repaired or wait for the disaster and spend thousands of dollars on the new installation of the components. But for all of it, you should have all the above symptoms in your mind so that you are in a better position to fix your power steering pump before sudden breakdowns.



Keeping an eye on your power steering pump and maintaining its good state will help you prevent dealing with acute complications and draining your hundreds of dollars down the road. Since your power steering makes it one of the most critical components of your vehicle and without which you cannot even move your car for a few inches, ensuring its good service has enormous importance. Drop in the fluid levels, heavier or loose steering, knocking/strange noises, fluid leakages, and dashboard signs are the primary bad power steering pump symptoms that can help you make a timely decision and send your car to the repair services before losing it to the excessive costs and situations.

power steering pump

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