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What Are the Reasons for Power Steering Pump Making Noise?

Published by: Tom
Date of Publish:

Among all the other things in your automobile that need to work correctly to give you a smooth driving experience, your power steering pump comes with great significance. Since you all know that your power steering pump is responsible for turning your car's wheels with the help of hydraulic power. Special attention needs to be kept to the fluid levels and overall performance of the power steering pump to enjoy your car ride to its best. But sometimes, this powerful equipment may also cause disturbance and irritation. Many car owners wonder why their car’s power steering pumps make noise; if this has been the case with your vehicle lately, this article is for you.

When your power steering pump starts making strange noises, it is never a cheering experience. Instead, it is a warning, meaning your power steering pump is dying and needs your attention for proper maintenance. It's trying to tell you that you will soon face a hard time. It is about to give you a hard time.

It is a modern thing and is acknowledged by many people. People navigated it just fine with a bit more grumble before it came into existence. You can drive without it, but you will get tired of manhandling it while parking your car, and it will continue making noises. That's why the drive editor puts a primer on it to power them.

This article will walk you through some basics about power steering and some other related terms, and then we’ll discuss the several reasons why the power steering pump makes noise and the solution for each reason. And at the end, you will know the answers to some frequently asked questions.

So, let’s get started.

Basics Term You Must Know

Power Steering

It is a mechanical device equipped for a motor vehicle. Its primary purpose is to reduce the effort a driver adds to move a wheel. And it also assists the driver. It can either be hydraulic or electric.

What Role Does Fluid Play in This System? Power Steering Fluid is a hydraulic fluid. Fluid helps the pump transfer power from it to the vehicle's wheels. It enables the gear in the wheel to move, which lessens the struggle of turning the wheel for the driver.

Flow Restrictor and Its Role

A flow restrictor or flow limiter is equipment that is used to limit the flow of fluid. It helps in reducing the pump's output. This will increase the level of steering effort a driver must make.

Lantern Wheels

A lantern wheel is a linear actuator that contains a circular gear that immerses a linear gear, which assists in clarifying rotary motion into linear motion. By rotating the pinion, the rack is driven linearly. Moving the rack linearly will cause the pinion to rotate.

Reasons Why Your Power Steering Pump Making Noise – And Their Solutions

Now just, let's talk about the causes of the steering pump making noise. There can be many problems like trapped air, fluid level, leaked pulley, fluid, and worn-out pump. Let's discuss all these causes and their solutions one by one. For more relevant info, please refer to Bad power steering pump symptoms, How much does it cost to replace a power steering pump, and Signs of power steering pump failure

1. Trapped Air in The System

The engine is probably making noises like whining and groaning because some air got trapped in it, and sounds are coming from the trapped air bulges generated in the system.

Solution: By removing the cap from the power steering fluid reservoir, you can check whether any trapped air bulges are formed. After that, you will need to flush it to get rid of the trapped air in it if you encounter that it was the cause of the sounds. Furthermore, check all the connections from the reservoir to prevent more air from getting trapped in the fresh fluid. And also tightened up all the connections to avoid the trap of more air.

2. Leaked Pulley Seal or Wobbly Pulley

A wobbly or sealed pulley is another cause of the production of weird noises from your power steering. It produces unusual sounds and can make you face obstacles in turning the wheel. A comparable indication can also be the aftereffect of bad mannerisms.

Solution: This symptom shows that the engine is failing, and you should get it changed without wasting more time.

3. Lower Fluid Level

Another cause of sound is the low fluid level. It is a considerably widespread cause of noise from it. It's not common to check fluid levels on your own, and it's not implicated in the supervision schedule in the owner's manual. And just because many drivers forget to change this fluid. Like other fluids in a motor vehicle, steering fluid can break down and collect mud over time, albeit at an idler rate. Also, the level is reduced if there is a leak in the system. It is hazardous as oil is the only source of lubricant. These metal parts can begin to heat up; some may fasten themselves together because of the constant tension, abrasion, or resistance. If such a thing happens, you will have to change the entire unexpectedly expensive system.

Solution: If the whining sound from the steering wheel changes into groaning, the pump is on the verge of failing. The sound can occur at the slow speed of the car or by turning the car swirls. You can either check it or take the car to the repair shop.

4. Contaminated Fluid for Powering

It can also be caused due to contaminated fluid. It can be contaminated because of the fluids and can break down over time. Correspondingly, the steady circulation of this old fluid can wear out over steering system components and can also accelerate the noise from it that we resist hearing because it can ruin your mood badly on a peaceful way to your destination.

Solution: You need to flush your old fluid and replace it with a new and reliable fluid. But if the pump wheel continues producing sounds like whining or groaning, you should not avoid it and get it checked. If you just let it go, you will only cause further damage to the pump or other components.

5. Worn Out Steering Pump

The other cause of sounds from it is a worn-out steering pump. Not changing the oil or checking its level it may cause the steering wheel to wear out. And because of this, it started producing sounds. When it is dry or lost in viscosity, it can cause the bearings in the pump to get damaged, and you will end up getting a noisy pump.

Solution: The only solution for this is to regularly check the level and quality of oil; if the level of fluid is low, then top it up, and if the fluid lost its viscosity or has become contaminated, change it right away.

6. Power Steering Pump Design Issues

If your power steering pump makes noises, there may be some manufacturing default in its design if it’s a new car. Design issues arise due to low-quality parts being used in the manufacturing process.  It sounds like grinding, squealing, or whining can be a warning of a dud pump. In this case, the steering can leave you with no power assistance, and the consequences may lead to damaging the pulley axle, bearing, or rising leaks.

Solution: As it is a fault due to poor-quality manufacturing, you can recall some of the pumps, but other components are also damaged, which may complicate this problem.


How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Power Steering Pump?

The cost of replacing it may vary from $400 to $ 1000. This range is broad because the cost depends on several factors like the complexity of replacing its assembly, the amount of time it takes to replace it, and the labor cost. The quality, fitment, and the seller may vary in cost.

For How Much Longer Should My Steering Pump Work Properly?

A pump mostly lasts ten thousand miles or maybe much longer than before experiencing any crucial problems. Most automobile components have a life expectancy, and these are no different. You can enrich its longevity by pursuing a proper maintenance schedule.

Can I Drive a Car with A Bad Pump?

Experts never recommend driving a broken power steering pump. If there's an emergency, you can drive short distances.

What Happens If I Have a Broken Water Pump?

If the water pump is broken or damaged, it will not be able to distribute the cooling effect through your car. And if it does not spread, the system will become extremely hot. And because of this extreme heat, many other engines or vehicle components will also be damaged, which can even result in engine breakdown.


The conclusion occurs that the production of whining or groaning-like sounds is due to the failure of the pump. There are many causes of it that we have discussed briefly as their solutions. Now the conclusion is that you should not avoid such things and should properly maintain your engine. So that it’ll work properly and you feel fewer troubles during your trip. Avoiding it can harm your vehicle on a large scale which will cost a lot to be perfect again.

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