Most modern cars and trucks use power steering to make turning and controlling the vehicle easier. In some situations, the steering pump in the vehicle can start to wear out, making the vehicle hard to drive. There are some signs to watch for that can help you determine when you need to take the vehicle into the shop and have the steering pump checked.
One of the most common indications that there is something wrong with the steering pump in your car or truck is a change in the way the steering feels. If the steering suddenly starts to feel heavy or stiff, something is wrong with the power steering system, and steering pumps are the most common failure point.
The pump is designed to produce pressure in the system so that when you turn the steering wheel, the pressure in the system helps you turn the tires. If the pressure is low, the system cannot do its job, and you have to turn the wheel harder to get the tires to turn.
Stiff steering by itself does not mean the pump is not working, but it should be an indication to check the system and determine if there is an issue.
If the steering pump in your car or truck starts to make groaning noises when you turn, it could mean that the pump cannot produce the pressure the system needs and is working hard to keep up. Those groaning noises are often related to the strain that is on the pump and should be a prompt to take the vehicle in and have the power steering pump and system checked for problems.
Often the pump noise is accompanied by a skipping or sluggish feel in the steering at low speed. The noise may quiet as you drive faster because there is less strain on the steering when moving forward. Typically the groaning will start when you are going very slowly or are turning in a parking lot or from a stop.
Leaking Steering Pump
Steering pumps that are leaking need to be replaced or repaired right away. On most vehicles, a steering fluid leak will appear on the ground under the front driver's corner of the vehicle near the steering pump and box, but it could show up in other spots if the oil is hitting the frame and running down to a low spot before dripping on the ground. In most cases, the oil is a reddish color and may have a slightly burnt odor to it.
If there is oil leaking from the system, you can add more, but it will continue to leak until the problem is solved. A steering pump used under these conditions will wear faster and will not provide the support the steering system needs to function correctly. To learn more about steering pumps, contact a company like Power Steering Resources.