Top 5 Leaking Power Steering Pump Symptoms
How can you tell that you have a leaking power steering pump? It would be best if you understood that your power steering pump plays a vital role in your vehicle. It handles the performance of your steering wheel and can decide your overall safety on the road.
When the power steering pump starts leaking, you are exposed to severe problems. To prevent this, you need to understand common leaking power steering pump symptoms and what you should do when you notice a leaking power steering pump.
There are a lot of signs that will tell you that your power steering pump is leaking, such as red or light brown fluid spotting under your car, poor steering wheel performance, faulty ignition process, unusual noise, and lots more. With a leaking power steering pump, your car wouldn’t have the power to turn.
Let’s walk you through some leaking power steering pump symptoms and how to identify them.
Table of Contents
- How Do I Know If My Power Steering Pump Is Leaking?
- Common Leaking Power Steering Pump Symptoms
- Can You Drive with a Leaking Power Steering Pump?
- How Long Can You Drive with a Leaking Power Steering Pump?
- Where Do Power Steering Pumps Usually Leak From?
- Best Car Deals by Category
- Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Know If My Power Steering Pump Is Leaking?
The Power Steering pump includes certain components like a pulley, drive shaft, pressure control valve, pump cover, vanes, rotor, and pump housing.
Because the power steering pump handles the distribution of fluid from the fluid reservoir or steering gearbox, loss of power steering fluid is one of the major ways to know that your power steering pump is leaking.
This can happen because the seals are weak and have started leaking, or wear and tear have eaten into the pump.
However, let’s look into more things that will happen if your power steering pump is leaking.
Common Leaking Power Steering Pump Symptoms
1. Loss of Fluid
One of the major symptoms of a leaking power steering pump is the loss of fluid. The Power steering pump runs a dual transmission system to the steering rack and the reservoir.
The power steering pump receives fluid from the reservoir, sustains the flow of power steering fluid, and delivers it to the steering rack through a pressurized mechanism.
When there is a leak on the pump, there are chances that the fluid will leak through any available open channel. This will cause a loss of fluid through the pump and reservoir.
When you notice a strange loss of your steering fluid, run your visual inspection of the pump to verify if there are leaks. You might need a professional mechanic to help you with this.
2. Spotting Under Your Car
You can tell you have a leaking power steering pump from the fluid spotting under your car. You should notice red or light brown fluid colorations on the floor.
This is because the fluids leak from the seals or cracks in your power steering pump. These leaks are usually noticeable in the morning before you start your car.
You must understand that fluid leaks might not necessarily mean that you have a leaking power steering pump. Your car contains a lot of fluids, and there are many reasons for a fluid leak. The color of the fluid leak will help you conclude if it is coming from your power steering pump.
3. Loss of Power Assist
As we have cited, a leaking power steering pump will cause a loss of steering fluid, impacting the power assist. The power steering pump delivers enough pressure on the steering fluid to provide your steering wheel's required power assist.
With fluid loss due to the leaking power steering pump, your steering wheel will become challenging to handle.
This happens because there is poor fluid circulation, leading to an unregulated or poor pressure delivery. Your steering wheel will feel heavy to move or, in most cases, become incredibly stiff.
4. Unusual Noise
Unusual noise is a common symptom of a leaking power steering pump, but other car problems can trigger a whining noise. Bad wheel bearing, CV joints, or faulty belts produce similar noise. No matter what the case may be, weird noises from your car are not issues you should overlook.
Power steering pumps make noise when they are bad or gradually failing. The noise from the failing power steering pump is because of its design and the rotary motion it makes to provide high-pressure fluids that deliver power assists.
If there is a leak in your power steering pump, there wouldn’t be enough fluid. The pump can go as far as drawing in the air, which will cause the production of air bubbles and a whining sound.
Whining noise from your power steering pump can also result from worn-out fluids that lack additives or required properties to pump well. It would be best to verify the cause of the noise to be sure that you are fixing the right fault.
5. Poor Steering Wheel Performance
The power steering pump delivers the required pressure to help you handle your steering wheel effortlessly.
When there is a leak in the steering pump, you will start noticing poor performance and delayed response in your steering wheel. This can become frustrating when you are trying to take a turn at a slow pace.
In most cases, the steering gets stuck when you try to complete a U-turn. This is embarrassing! If your steering wheel is starting to feel slow to respond to a steer or the inputs that you are making, there are high chances that you have a leaking power steering pump.
Can You Drive with a Leaking Power Steering Pump?
Yes. You can. But we strictly advise against trying to drive with a leaky power steering pump. You can drive your car for a few moments after the power steering pump starts leaking, but as time goes on, it will become difficult to control the steering, which is dangerous.
Here are some dangers of driving with a leaking power steering pump.
- Difficulty with steering
- Unresponsive steering
- Increased damages to the steering pump
How Long Can You Drive with a Leaking Power Steering Pump?
You can drive as long as you want with a leaking power steering pump. However, we advise you to fix your leaking power steering pump as soon as possible to avoid extended damage.
You can drive on a leaking power steering pump until the fluid is leaked out to the extent that the pump starts sucking in air.
This becomes noticeable with a whining noise and may continue till there isn’t enough fluid pressure to control your steering. In this case, the steering will become stiff or difficult to control.
At this level, if you insist on continuing to drive your car, the steering pump will dry up, the seals will burn, your bearings will fail due to lack of lubrication, and your drive belt will be completely damaged.
Where Do Power Steering Pumps Usually Leak From?
Power steering pumps usually leak from the seals, gaskets, lines, and junctions between your reservoir and steering rack.
There are chances that the leak is coming from the connection point of the pump shaft and pulley. We’ve noticed leaks along the hose/tubes connected to the pump. Some leaks can also come from the connecting points or cracks on the body of the steering pump.
You don’t need to panic when you notice your power steering pump leaking. It will only become complicated if you ignore the symptoms and refuse to replace the worn-out parts.
It is advisable to hire the services of a professional mechanic, but there’s no harm in going DIY in your power steering pump replacement.
We believe the leaking power steering pump symptoms listed in this article will help you tell when to replace your steering pump.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do power steering leak sealers work?
Yes. There are a lot of power steering leak sealers on the market that promises a 100% guarantee to stop all leaks. We noticed that some of the power steering leak sealers work. They provide effective and reliable sealing options for small and big leaks, but we will not advise that you resort to these as a permanent solution.
What color is the power steering fluid when it leaks?
The power steering fluid is red when it leaks. Sometimes, you might notice a light brown or reddish-brown coloration when your power steering fluid leaks.
How much does it cost to replace a power steering pump?
The cost of replacing a power steering pump lies in your location and the auto-repair shop that handles the replacement. You can expect an average cost of $150 - $500. This also depends on if you wish to do it yourself or hire a professional mechanic.