Updated at: 01-04-2022 - By: micdot

If you’ve ever wondered how tough it would be to drive without power steering, consider this:
Drivers were greatly relieved when it was first introduced in 1951. However, what if you notice a rattling noise from the power steering?

A hydraulic power steering system uses the fluid already in the vehicle to produce pressure for steering. The first sign of issue is a whining noise that changes in pitch with the vehicle’s speed. What, therefore, is the underlying cause?

Reduced Steering Fluid Availability

suffocating in a vacuum

Worn-out timing belt

Pump that’s worn out.

The power steering pump has failed.

Pulley with a tendency to wobble

a clogged pipe leading to the power steering

Pump for the power steering has failed.

Its state of hydration

A power steering noise, even if you haven’t yet heard it, is instantly recognizable. It’s a distinct whining noise, and you know exactly where it’s coming from. Power steering failure is almost certain to occur if the problem is not addressed.

Symptoms Of A Bad Or Failing Power Steering Pump That Causes Noise

Your car’s power steering system should be quiet and precise. However, a low whining sound may be the first sign of a problem.A slipping belt or even a broken pump could be to blame. Check out your car in the shop before the entire system breaks down.

Low Steering Fluid

The most prevalent cause of power steering noise is a low fluid level. Drivers have a limited understanding of power steering fluid and lubricant maintenance. As a result, many people fail to check the fluid. The level of power steering fluid should be checked and replaced if necessary, just like any other fluid in the vehicle. It can become sludge-like if it is contaminated with particles. This happens much more slowly than engine oil does. Unknown leaks can potentially cause the levels to drop.

There are numerous components in the power steering system. Lubrication is therefore critical to its long-term viability. Metal parts can overheat and wear out if the fluid level is low, therefore it’s important to keep an eye on it. Due to the parts’ constant grinding, they can also weld together. Is it necessary to overhaul the entire system? That would be a costly endeavor. Contrary to engine oil, it is impossible to detect a low fluid level in the system. The only way to know for sure is to pay attention to the symptoms. Keep an eye on when the whining evolves to groaning, particularly when turning and at low speeds. The system is close to failing, therefore you should have it checked out.

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Power Steering Pump | YourMechanic Advice


Low fluid levels can be caused by a variety of other problems, including leaks. Power steering pump noises can be a telltale sign of a problem, as can difficulty turning the car in the opposite direction.The fluid reservoir is a good place to listen for strange noises. Steering is noisy and heavy when the pump is leaking. The pour-n-go formulae are a straightforward patch for a leaking power steering.

Condition Of The Fluid

The whining sounds you hear from the power steering may be caused by a full fluid reservoir. Another possibility is that the fluid has deteriorated.The steering might also be affected by the change in viscosity. It could be for any of the following reasons:Metal pieces are a source of contamination. There is a buildup of waste in the system. The fluid’s decomposition. It’s time for a new fluid if it’s dark and sludgy. Keep a close eye on your reservoir, just like you do with your engine oil.

Trapped Air

Power steering noise may also be caused by trapped air bubbles in the steering mechanism. The classic whining and vibrating sounds are produced by the air. Air bubbles flowing through the system might make popping noises, too. The steering being heavy and difficult to operate is another sign of bubbles, but this only occurs when there is too much air trapped. The fluid reservoir can be checked for bubbles. If there are any bubbles or froth floating above the liquid, remove the cap.

However, locating trapped air is a time-consuming and difficult process that should only be attempted after the oil level and pump have been thoroughly examined. Because of this, the only cure is to drain out the old fluid and replace it with a fresh one.

Slipped Drive Belt

Belt slippage can cause power steering whine when turning. The power steering pump has a driving belt that helps it turn. When it slips, the car can’t change directions since the pump isn’t getting any pressure. Power steerings are notorious for having an issue with the drive belt coming loose. While driving at high speeds or making tight curves, the vehicle makes a screaming noise that may be heard. It’s possible to hear a power steering noise when the car is cold, especially in earlier models. Belts lose their grip as they get older, making them more prone to coming undone. If the power steering fails, it might be quite dangerous. A slipping belt can also make the sounds annoying.

Worn Out Pump

Your car is prone to increasing wear and tear as it gets older. The internal parts and seals of the power steering system likewise experience the detrimental effects of aging and lose pressure. You can hear the pump screeching as it deteriorates because of the wear and use on it. In addition, the power steering becomes quite difficult to work.

The best course of action is to have it checked out by an expert. It’s best to get a new car because the steering system is so pricey. If you don’t stop, the pump will fail at any time, and the power steering will fail as a result.

Failing Power Steering Pump

The failure of the power steering is another common cause of whining noises coming from the pump. Fluid leakage and steering problems are two other telltale signs in addition to the loudness. Pump whining and groaning might be an indication of low fluid levels, too. Low levels are caused by the pump spilling fluid, in this case.

If your power steering makes a grinding noise when you first turn it on, a faulty pump could be to blame. When you turn the key, you may hear your pump screech for a few seconds before it fully activates. As a precaution, you may want to replace your pump if it has been causing you further troubles.

Symptoms of Bad Power Steering Pump: Causes and Fixes – Rx Mechanic

Wobbly Pulley

The pulley’s seal may begin to leak over time. Power steering whining can be caused by a number of things, including a worn-out belt or a sloppy pulley. However, in this case, it is a sign that your power steering pump is out of commission. If you’re going to replace your pump with a new one, make sure to check the bearings first.

Clogged Power Steering Hose

Whenever the power steering hose becomes obstructed, the car makes the same whining noise it had when it was new. A clogged hose makes it harder to turn the steering wheel, which may not be ideal in an emergency situation. Make plans to clear the clog as soon as you notice it in your steering. An obstruction isn’t just found in the hose. Gears attached to the pump will also experience the effect of the fluid flow.

Faulty Power Steering Pum

A defective power steering pump will make a low buzzing noise when the power steering is engaged. As the RPM increases, so does the pitch of the humming sound.It’s possible to notice leaks surrounding the shaft, which is the most critical portion of the machine.When it comes to the power steering system, the shaft is the linchpin. Your steering will be rendered useless if it malfunctions. To avoid growing costs, any problems with the shaft must be addressed immediately.

Fix Your Power Steering

How to Fix Power Steering in Your Car (Quick) - YouTube

Power steering noises are usually the beginning of a problem. The timing of any power steering noise correction is critical; else, the system may be permanently harmed.If you’re not a mechanic, you’ll need the help of a professional to handle these kinds of issues. You’re lucky if the fluid is the problem, because you can merely replace it.You may have to invest if the pump or parts are damaged or worn out. You may need to take out a loan because the entire system is broken.

Examine The Source Of The Noise

It’s important to make sure you’re dealing with an issue with your steering system rather than your engine before you start looking for a solution. It’s not always the steering that makes a noise; a malfunctioning engine might also make a sound. Find the source of the noise by paying attention to it. Find out what kind of sound it makes once you know where the noise is coming from; groans, squeals, or whining. Each of these sounds represents a distinct problem.

You’ll be able to pinpoint the source of the noise. Several may be fixed by the user, while others may require the assistance of a professional.Make a sharp turn, drive at varied speeds, and spin the steering wheel to keep going if you’re motivated to get the job done. You should be able to get a clear picture of the issue by combining these moves.

Change The Fluid

The power steering fluid is the most common source of noise. Flush the system if there is low fluid, polluted fluid, or trapped air in the fluid. Check the oil level by opening the fluid reservoir. It’s time to replace it if it’s cloudy and contaminated with trash and metal shavings. To eliminate all remnants of the old oil, flush the system and refill it with new. Additives that prevent leaks and slippage should be used with a quiet fluid. Take a look at the manual and make sure you’ve filled it to the correct level. Once the fresh fluid has circulated for a few kilometers, the noise should be gone. However, keep an eye on your fluid level if you don’t hear any sound.

One of the seals may be leaking, causing the temperature to drop. Changing the seals or adding an additive are your only two options.If the sound persists, you may have a more serious problem on your hands, which might include pump damage. Don’t try to dismantle or fix it yourself, because it’s not worth it. Get a professional opinion from a technician or an auto service center.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Power Steering Pump?

A power steering pump repair might cost anything from $350 to $700. Since the pump is located in the engine compartment, the parts are more expensive than the labor in this instance. Between $200 to $450, depending on what kind of vehicle you have. It would cost you anywhere from $150 to $250 to see a mechanic.

Power Steering Pump Replacement Cost - Wheelzine

Can I Drive A Car With Bad Power Steering?

Yes, theoretically, this is possible. Your wheels may not be able to spin without you using all of your effort, and you may not be able to in an emergency. Furthermore, the longer the problem lingers, the more damage is done and the greater the repair costs become.

How To Tell If The Power Steering Pump Is Bad Or Rack And Pinion?

Heavy steering, fluid leaks, and screaming noise are all signs of a pump failure. As an alternative, rack and pinion difficulties might cause shaky or unstable steering, leaking or teeth in the rack and pinion.


Your car’s power steering is one of the most underappreciated features. Most people don’t do any maintenance at all and wait until something goes wrong before they do something about it. A newer vehicle or one in good running order should not be an issue. The problems begin when it starts to fail. The noises originating from the power steering are one of the most critical signs.

At this point, you should get your steering tested by a mechanic to ensure that it is in good working order. So it’s better to fix these problems now rather than later.