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How To Know If Your Power Steering Pump Or Rack Is Bad

The power steering pump and rack are critical components that ensure the steering wheel is handled smoothly and efficiently. As a result, when these components fail, it has a substantial impact on the car’s operation. The power steering pump pumps fluid from the reservoir into the steering gear, which then delivers the proper amount of pressure to smoothly spin the wheels. The rack and pinion, on the other hand, converts the rotation of the steering wheel into a linear movement of the wheels and allows it to move from side to side. Wear and tear will occur over time, causing this system to stop working properly.

Signs Of A Bad Power Steering Pump

  • The steering wheel gets harder to turn when the power steering begins to fail. This indicates that the pump should be replaced.
  • If your steering feels sluggish to respond to your steering wheel movements, your power steering pump is most likely failing. You may also hear a whining noise in the background. If you observe both of these symptoms at the same time, it’s time to replace your power steering pump.
  • A squealing noise emanating from under the hood indicates that the power steering pump is failing and the belt is slipping.
  • The worst noises your power steering pump might make are groaning noises. As your power steering pump continues to fail, they will become increasingly worse. If the power steering system fails due to a shortage of fluid, the entire system, including the steering rack and lines, will be damaged and will require replacement.
Bad Power Steering Pump

Signs Of A Bad Steering Rack

  • It’s usually due to the steering rack building up more heat or a loss of hydraulic pressure from the power steering unit when the steering wheel feels tight or is harder to turn than usual. Adding more power steering fluid or making a modest adjustment will sometimes remedy the problem and extend the life of your steering rack but this will only be a temporary solution, a replacement of the steering rack will be a more lasting solution.
  • The presence of leaking steering fluid indicates the presence of a faulty steering rack and can be recognized from other fluids by its characteristic red or pink colour.
  • The smell of burning oil is a less typical symptom of a damaged steering rack. Because power steering fluid smells like burnt oil, while the steering gearbox is hot, the strong odour of burnt oil will be present. If this happens, get out of your car right away, find a safe location to park it, continuing to drive can end in a fire and catastrophic damage.
Bad Steering Rack

Detecting a faulty power steering pump or steering rack can sometimes be tricky. This is when getting professional help comes in. You can chat with us or follow the link HERE to schedule an appointment with a technician.

About Nonso Okafor

I've worked as a technical support representative in major auto centers in Nigeria for more than twenty years. I have dealt with a variety of problems in my capacity as a customer service representative and auto diagnostics expert. I'm committed to assisting people in properly maintaining their automobiles and in appreciating this magnificent innovation known as an automobile.

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One comment

  1. My brother manages a moving company, and one of his drivers mentioned that the truck they use has been hard to maneuver lately because of the steering wheel. Thank you for explaining to us that difficulty with the steering wheel is usually a sign of a bad power steering pump that requires replacing. I’ll have to tell my brother about this so he can get new Freightliner power steering pumps right away.

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