Signs Of Power Steering Pump Failure

Power steering made a huge difference in the ease of driving for many people. However, it's also one of those things that many take for granted until it stops working. If you've never had a power steering pump fail on your car before, you may not have any idea what the signs are like. Being able to recognize an impending power steering pump failure is important for your safety on the road, so you should know what to watch for. Here's a look at some of the most common indications that your car's power steering pump needs attention.

Check The Condition Of Your Power Steering Fluid

For many drivers, power steering fluid is one of those afterthoughts. It gets checked when you take your car for an oil change, so you may simply never give it a thought. However, it's just as important for you to monitor the condition of your power steering fluid as it is for you to check your oil and coolant condition. 

If you check your power steering fluid and you see any signs of metal shavings or other debris in the fluid, you may need to have the power steering pump replaced and the system flushed. Often, this is the result of deterioration of the pump since it passes particles into the flowing fluid.

You might also notice that your power steering fluid looks or smells burnt. If so, you'll want to reach out to your auto repair technician as soon as possible. Burnt power steering fluid indicates that your power steering pump is getting far too hot, which means you've got a failure on the horizon.

Listen When You Turn The Wheel

You shouldn't hear anything coming from under the hood when you turn your steering wheel, but if you do happen to hear a squeal when you're turning the wheel, and you notice that the squeal persists every time you turn, you'll definitely need to get your power steering pump looked at. The squeal, or whine, that you're hearing is the pump itself showing signs of wear and distress. Often, this is the last precursor to power steering pump failure.

Feel The Steering Wheel's Movement

Most people think that you only know a power steering pump is going when it completely goes and the steering gets extremely difficult. However, you may actually notice differences in the steering wheel's movement before the pump gives out completely. Many times, the power steering pump will behave intermittently, so you might notice instances where the steering wheel gets hard to turn, but then it returns to normal again. As soon as you start to notice this, you'll need to have the pump replaced if you want to avoid a complete failure altogether.

If you have any reason to believe that your car's power steering pump isn't functioning as it should, talk with your mechanic to see if you need a replacement pump, such as a Navistar power steering pump.