Power Steering Pumps
Power Steering Pumps
Power steering pumps are a hydraulic fluid pump that is driven off the engine and provides hydraulic fluid under pressure to operate a steering box or steering rack. Some of the new pumps are driven by an electric motor and can be remote mounted away from the engine if required. The main reason for power steering is it makes it easier to turn the steering wheel, especially at low speed when parking and is a bonus if you have fitted wider tyres. Most modern cars made in the last 10 years have it as a standard option.
The pump sends hydraulic fluid to the steering rack or box via 2 hydraulic lines. (power steering hoses) One is the high pressure line that assists the rack or box when turning, the other is the low pressure line that returns fluid back to the pump. The pump is usually mounted to the engine and runs off a drive belt that is driven off the engines crankshaft and runs other items like the alternator, water pump and air conditioning compressor.
Popular Questions Asked
What causes a power steering pump to fail?
The main cause is a lack of hydraulic fluid. Power steering systems can have hoses split or leak from a fitting, the box or racks can leak from a worn seal as can the pump. The pump has a pulley on the front of it for the drive belt to run it. This has a seal behind it and the common problem is they wear out and the pump starts to leak fluid. The saving grace is it is easy to see as it drips onto the spinning pulley which then sprays it like a fan over other parts of the engine. Most pumps have a cap with a built-in dipstick on top off the pump to help you monitor fluid levels in the pump.
What are the symptoms of a failing Power Steering Pump?
The power steering gets noisy if low on fluid. The noise can be there all the time and more pronounced when you turn the steering wheel or it may be quiet when going straight and only make the noise when you are turning. If it is very difficult to turn the steering wheel it is most likely out of fluid. The other explanation is the drive belt has come off so the pump is not being run by the engine. The good part is there is always a manual overide so even though it is difficult, you can still steer the car.
How much does it cost to replace a Power Steering Pump?
Replacing a power steering pump is approximately $420 to $850. The price of the pumps can vary a lot so for some models this will be much higher. They are not complex and replacing them is straight forward. Where the guidance comes in is bleeding out the old fluid and priming/filling the system with new fluid. You don't want to leave air trapped in the system.