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Signs Of Power Steering Pump Failure

Published by: Tom
Date of Publish:

There are many different parts of a car, and each part has its importance. All the parts are essential for the vehicle to help correctly and correctly function. The power steering pump is also a necessary part of the car, which helps reduce the steering turning effort of the driver. The power steering pump pushes the hydraulic fluid into the steering, which helps the driver quickly turn the steering wheel in the desired direction with less force. It smooths down the turning of the car. As with other car parts, the power steering pump can also stop working or get damaged. But there are some symptoms or signs which can inform you about the failure of the power steering pump.

Signs of Power Steering Pump Failure

• Whining Noisy Sound While Turning

While turning the car, if you hear a whining or groaning sound, this signals power steering pump failure. Mainly this noise arises due to the leakage in the power steering pump, or the hydraulic fluid level in the power steering system could be low. If your car starts making these noisy sounds, you should first check the fluid level or any leakages in the pump. All car owners are always looking to avoid this noise because if this problem occurs, they will have to pay a huge amount to get it repaired or replaced. The lack of fluid can damage the other parts of the steering system, like bearings. You should check the fluid level and ensure it is up to the top level. A mechanic should check your car immediately if there is no leakage and the hydraulic fluid level is sufficient.

• Slow Response of the Steering Wheel

If you turn the steering of the car and the wheel’s turning response is slow, this is another sign of power steering pump failure. There is something wrong with the power steering system. While driving, it is hazardous because the coordination between the power steering and the wheels is very slow. It can cause accidents. There can also be a problem with the suspension of the car. If you feel a slow response, you should replace your old power steering pump.

• Stiffness or Heaviness in the Steering  

The power steering system's primary function is to help quickly turn the steering with less power. If you feel stiffness or heaviness while turning the steering, this is another sign of power steering pump failure. It can be hazardous for drivers who like to drive fast. The driver will have to apply more force to turn the steering. If the steering becomes very hard to turn, you should replace the power steering pump or get your car checked by a mechanic.

• Squealing Loud Noises on Ignition

If you hear loud squealing noises when igniting the car from the key or while turning the vehicle, this can be another sign of the power steering pump failure. Another reason for the loud squealing noises is a loose accessory belt. You will hear loud noises whenever the car’s accessory belt is loose. So before replacing the power steering pump, ensure that the accessory belt is fully tight and correctly fitted. But when you hear the loud squealing noises on both starting and sharply turning the car, this points toward a faulty power steering system.  

• Low or Reducing Level of Power Steering Fluid

Always ensure the power steering fluid is up to the level mentioned on the reservoir. But if your car’s power steering fluid level is always low or automatically reduced, your hydraulic fluid is likely to leak. There can be a leakage in the power steering pump. Low-power steering fluid can create enormous problems for the driver. The fluid reservoir is fitted on the front engine side of the car but is different for all vehicles. You should get your power steering pump replaced with a new one if it gets leaked because repairing it can also cause some problems in the future.

• Color of the Power Steering Fluid

You should always keep checking the level and color of the power steering fluid in the reservoir. If the color of the power steering fluid gets gray, then the steering fluid has got oxidized, and it won’t be able to work at its total capacity. You should get it changed regularly. If air enters the power steering system regularly, then this oxidation of the fluid occurs. A bad or faulty power steering pump can also create some metal flakes in the power steering fluid.

• Red & Brown Puddle

If you see a puddle of red and brown color under your car in your garage, there is a leaking or crack in the power steering pump. It would be best if you got your leaking power steering pump replaced without any delay.

For more relevant info, please refer to Bad power steering pump symptoms, How much does it cost to replace a power steering pump, and How to fix a leaking power steering pump

Reasons for Power Steering Pump Failure

There are many different reasons for the power steering pump failure. And when the power steering pump fails, it creates a massive problem for the car’s driver. Vehicle handling gets very difficult when the power steering pump gets terrible. Some of the reasons for power steering pump failure are:

• Contaminated Power Steering Fluid

The power steering system has hydraulics that use the power steering fluid to create movement. If the power steering fluid gets contaminated, it seizes the whole power steering system. One of the main reasons for the power steering pump failure can be the use of contaminated power steering fluid. So it would be best if you always got your fluid checked and changed at regular intervals.

• Low Level of Power Steering Fluid

If you keep driving the car at a low level of power steering fluid, then it can create problems for you. A low fluid level cannot provide the force required by the power steering system. It can also create friction between different parts and damage them. So always make sure you have an adequate level of fluid available in the reservoir. A low level of power steering fluid can also be one of the reasons for the failure of the power steering pump.

• Lack of Maintenance

A power steering pump is simple to maintain. You can extend the life of your steering pump and keep it functioning well for many years by avoiding bumpy roads and driving reliably and carefully. On the other hand, if you neglect to maintain your car, numerous parts, including the steering pump, will break down. Poor Maintenance can also be the reason for a bad power steering pump.

• Rough Handling of Car

Power steering pumps can endure forceful jolts against the steering wheel, unanticipated bumps, or potholes. It is crucial to understand that your car has mechanical parts, which might break down over time as a result of the rough handling of the vehicle. If they are under load, drive belts, steering pumps, and other steering parts may malfunction. For this reason, it is advised to stay off rough roads. Rough handling of the car can also be the reason for power steering pump failure.

If you need to know more about fixing or replacing a power steering pump, please refer to How to replace power steering pump and How do you reset the power steering assist on Ford F150


Should You Repair Your Old Power Steering Pump?

Yes, you can repair the old and faulty power steering pump, but the repair cost is very high compared to the new one. And secondly, the working capacity of the repaired power steering pump is also reduced. The repaired steering pump can again stop working anytime. Whereas a new power steering pump works at its total capacity, you can replace it by following all the above steps. So, it would be best to get a new power steering pump instead of repairing the old one.

Can A Car With A Faulty Power Steering System Be Driven?

Yes, you can drive a car that has bad power steering, but it will require a tremendous amount of effort and power while turning.


The power steering system is an essential feature in all modern cars. You cannot think of driving cars without a power steering system because cars without the power steering feature require tremendous energy and power to turn the steering wheel. As everything has some pros and cons, it also has some. Sometimes the power steering pump stops working or gets damaged.

There are many different signs and symptoms which tell whether the power steering pump is about to fail or has already failed. Some common signs or symptoms of a faulty power steering pump are hydraulic fluid leakage, loud noises or sounds, stiffness of the steering or wheels, and many others. If you know about all these symptoms, you can easily prepare for them in time. You should also know some of the main reasons behind the failure of the power steering pump. And some of the common reasons are lack of maintenance, low level of fluid, rough handling, and many more. If you keep all these signs and reasons behind the failure of the power steering pump, you can save yourself from the huge repair cost of the bad power steering pump.  

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