The power steering pump is the component of an automobile that provides the hydraulic pressure necessary for a functioning power steering system. Power steering allows drivers to turn the steering wheel with ease and maintain control of the vehicle. Like any part, the power steering pump needs regular attention. Drivers should recognise signs that their power steering pump is faulty so that they can replace the worn part to prevent damage to other power steering components and maintain a smooth driving experience.
Steering wheel is difficult to turn
When a car is not running, it is extremely difficult to make the steering wheel turn. This is what it feels like to drive a car without power steering. If the driver notices that it has become more difficult to turn the steering wheel, this is a sign of a bad power steering pump.
A steering wheel that is impossible to manoeuver can also indicate low power steering fluid. When there is inadequate fluid, the steering wheel experiences friction during the turning process. Low fluid can also cause early failure of the power steering pump.
Power steering fluid is leaking
Power steering fluid can be numerous colours, such as clear, brown, black, red, pink, and amber. If a driver notices that there is fluid underneath his or her vehicle, it may be power steering fluid. Checking the levels over a period of a few days provides insight as to whether the vehicle is losing fluid.
The power steering pump propels the power steering fluid to the steering gear that provides the pressure to turn the steering wheel. When a power steering pump is in need of replacement, it cannot move the fluid like it used to. Defective power steering pumps often leak fluid.
Vehicle is uncharacteristically noisy
A vehicle that squeals when the driver is taking sharp turns is another sign that the power steering pump is not working correctly. The squealing sound occurs when there are inadequate amounts of power steering fluid, which a bad power steering pump can cause.
Another common sound indicative of a malfunctioning power steering pump is a groaning noise. This noise occurs when the car is idling and is an indication that something in the power steering system is not working correctly. If the power steering pump is making the sound, it seems as if the groan is coming directly from the pump.
Appearance of power steering fluid changes
Drivers should examine their power steering fluid to garner insight into the health of their power steering pump. Healthy power steering fluid is bright red and has a noticeable smell to it. If bubbles or foam appear in the power steering fluid, it can mean that there is air or water in the power steering line. A faulty power steering pump can cause both of these abnormalities.
If the power steering fluid contains silver flakes, it is actually pieces of chrome from the power steering pump. The power steering pump is literally breaking apart, causing its components to wind up in the power steering fluid.
Erratic steering wheel behaviour
During a drive, the steering wheel may function correctly, become insanely arduous to turn for a few moments, and then work correctly again on its own. A bad power steering pump can cause air to build up and prevent the continual transmission of power steering fluid.
Power steering fluid has to be able to constantly flow to give the power steering system the power that it needs. When the power steering pump is defective, it cannot provide the required pressure. The lack of pressure results in an abnormal flow of power steering fluid.
Vibrating steering wheel
If the steering wheel vibrates while the vehicle is idling, this is an indirect sign of a defective power steering pump. The drive belt provides the required amount of tension for manoeuvering the vehicle. If it slips or is out of place, it causes the steering wheel to violently shake. A car exhibiting signs of a misaligned drive belt can also be suffering from a bad power steering pump.
How to buy power steering components on eBay
If your power steering system is in need of repair, you can shop on eBay for your tools and parts. The search bar on every page makes it simple to find parts suitable for your vehicle. You can enter "power steering pump" into the search bar and filter the results for your make and model. Another option is to include your car's make and model in your search term. At the first sign of a faulty power steering pump, it is best to take steps to repair your vehicle to keep it running smoothly for years to come.