The Common Power Steering Pump Problems & Troubleshooting Techniques Every Car Owner Needs to Know

Date Posted: 30 August 2023 

The Common Power Steering Pump Problems & Troubleshooting Techniques Every Car Owner Needs to Know main image The Common Power Steering Pump Problems & Troubleshooting Techniques Every Car Owner Needs to Know image

As car owners, it can be easy to get complacent about the function of the power steering pump in relation to the steering wheel. It’s a part of the car that we sort of just expect to work, despite the fact that it would be disastrous if it ever suddenly stopped functioning. Fortunately, recognising warning signs of power steering pump failure is pretty easy once you’re aware of them, and troubleshooting is fairly straightforward too. Once you know what to do, maintaining your power steering pump is simply a matter of staying vigilant and addressing issues as they arise.

Common Power Steering Pump Problems

1. Slow Wheel Response Time

The moment you turn the steering wheel, your car should respond accordingly. If you’ve noticed a delayed response, it might be time to replace the power steering pump. Keep in mind that a slow-responding steering wheel can be quite dangerous and should be tended to immediately.

2. Stiff Wheel

Along with being slow to respond, a steering wheel can also become stiff once the steering pump starts failing. If you can’t get the wheel to move more smoothly following a few basic checks or tries, get your technician or mechanic to take a look at it as soon as possible.

3. Strange Noises While Steering

There are a few noises that indicate a problem with your power steering pump. For example, if you hear loud groans from your vehicle, this could be the result of a failing pump. A squeaking sound as you turn the key in the ignition is another indication of an issue. If you hear a strange whining noise as you turn the wheel, there could be a leak in the pump or the steering fluid might simply be low.

Troubleshooting Techniques

1. Stiff Electric Steering

Unlike other steering problems, this issue cannot be diagnosed by checking fluid levels and the kerb height. Instead, you’ll generally require a scan tool to sufficiently diagnose and repair the vehicle. If you don’t have access to a scan tool, there are other ways to find a diagnosis. For example, you could check the fuses, check for binding or damage, check that the wiring is intact and check that the battery voltage is okay. In order to complete a proper inspection, however, you’ll have to check for codes and data in the module. From this point, you probably won’t be able to repair any damaged electrical components, but you should be able to replace them pretty easily.

2. Squealing Noise

Whether intermittent or constant, a squealing noise coming from your car is usually indicative of an issue with the belt or pulleys and not necessarily the steering pump itself. You can work towards diagnosing the problem by removing the belt and spinning all of the pulleys by hand, keeping an eye out for problems. Check the belt itself for cracks, glazing, missing chunks or contamination. You should also note the way the belt comes off and the directions in which the pulleys rotate. If contamination does turn out to be an issue, clean all the pulleys before replacing the belt. You should also make sure the pulleys are correctly aligned with one another.

3. Steering That Pulls or Drifts

This problem can usually be rectified by performing a four-wheel alignment and correcting alignment angles. However, factors such as uneven tyre pressure and poor tyre condition can also cause this problem. It’s quite easy to start the process of diagnosis by swapping the tyre position on the vehicle and seeing if it makes a difference. You can also check to see if the vehicle is the same height from side to side while it’s resting on the ground. If it isn’t, it’s likely a suspension problem that is affecting the alignment, if not a flat tyre.

Stay on Top of Vehicle Maintenance

The steering system of a vehicle is incredibly important, and it will inevitably fail at some point down the track. For this reason, it’s crucial that all car owners are prepared to deal with a problematic steering system. If you’ve noticed some changes in your steering experience, get a diagnosis as soon as you can and make any necessary adjustments and replacements. For good-quality replacement auto parts, browse the comprehensive collection available at Machter. We offer an inexpensive but effective alternative to overpriced dealer parts, boasting components that suit a wide range of models. To solve your steering issues today, browse our power steering pumps at Machter!