How to tell if power steering pump is going bad

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Lots of cars have electrical or hydraulic pumps to help drivers turn the steering wheel without much effort. Here’s how to tell if the power steering pump is going bad.

Listen for noises from the engine

Listen carefully and if you notice squeaking or whining noises whenever you turn your steering wheel, it’s time to get the power steering pump checked out. The pump might be damaged or there could be a fluid leak. You don’t want to neglect this issue as it will only get worse with time and that can be dangerous on the road.

Gauge how the wheel feels in your hands

You know how the steering wheel usually feels when you turn it. If it starts to get stiff or more difficult to maneuver, then odds are that something is wrong with the power steering pump. A steering wheel that is slow to respond or move is usually accompanied by squeaks or creaking noises.

Check for damage

Pop the hood and look to see if there is any visible damage on the pump or driving belt. The belt is what helps the pump to turn and build up pressure that controls the steering wheel. In addition, there might be damage or looseness on the pump pulley or shaft. This could be causing those grinding and whining noises and difficulty moving the steering wheel.

You notice leaks under your car

Reddish-brown puddles and leaks indicate an issue with the power steering pump. If you notice this, it’s in your best interest to take the car to a qualified mechanic. It might not be the power steering pump but it could be fluid from other steering gears. Either way, it’s definitely not something that you want to allow to fester.

A bit of background knowledge can make you a more informed and safer driver.

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