How to Tell If a Power Steering Pump Is Failing

by Kayar Sprang

Fortunately, you don't have to be a certified mechanic to tell if a power steering pump is failing. There are several signs that can tip you off. You can feel it in the steering wheel when you drive the car, and you can hear the noises a failing pump makes. You can even see it if you look at the rear of the engine. Read on to find out how to tell if a power steering pump is failing.

Hear the power steering in your car start making a whining noise, and you could have a small leak in the pump. Check the power steering fluid in your vehicle (see Resources below). If the fluid level is low, that's another sign there's a slow leak.

Move the steering wheel in either direction while you're driving slowly and making a turn. If the steering feels like it's not working for several seconds, the pump may be failing. If you also hear a squealing noise when turning the wheel, that's another symptom.

Drive the vehicle during the cold weather months and feel the steering wheel become stiff when you're driving slowly. That could mean the pump is going out.

Hear squealing noises coming from underneath the hood of the vehicle when you make sharp turns. The noises may also happen for a minute or so when you first start the vehicle up. These could be signs the power steering pump is failing.

Hear loud groaning noises coming from the power steering pump that get worse and worse, and you can be sure it needs to be serviced right away.

Warning

  • close You can drive a vehicle without power steering, but it's difficult and unsafe. Repair or replace the pump as soon as possible.

About the Author

Kayar Sprang has been a professional freelance writer and researcher since 1999. She has had articles published by clients like Kraft Foods, "Woman's Day" magazine and Mom Junction. Sprang specializes in subjects she has expertise in, including gardening and home improvement. She lives on and maintains a multi-acre farm.