Power Steering Problems or Issues

If you are having problems with your vehicle's power steering, you more than likely have a leak. Be it a slow or fast leak, it should be fixed as soon as possible. You may, however just be low on power steering fluid. You should check all the fluids in your vehicle regularly.

If your notice one day that your power steering starts whining and slowly get worse over a few days or weeks, you most likely have a slow leak. If all of the sudden your power steering goes out, then you may have a blown seal. Or you may have a leaky power steering pump.

You can visually inspect the power steering lines. Follow the line(s) from the point where you fill the power steering fluid(under hood) all the way down, look for any signs of a cut or split in the line or any fluid on the outside of the line or underneath the line. Also inspect your driveway to see if a puddle of fluid accumulates and how quickly.

If you determine that you have a slow power steering leak you may be able to do a quick fix. Visit your local automotive parts store they should have a power steering stop-leak. Add the stop-leak to your power steering and fill any remainder with power steering fluid until the fluid level reaches the "full" point, do not overfill! Sometimes a seal can begin to deteriorate and some stop-leak can fix it. Eventually you will probably need the problem professionally fixed. Like I said this would be a quick fix. If you have a very slow leak adding the stop-leak and topping off the fluid may last you a while.

If you determine that you have a fast leak you should have a mechanic take a look. As I stated above you can visually inspect the lines yourself and you may find that you just need to replace the line. You can get a replacement line at an auto parts store, replacing the line should be self explanatory or you may want to have a pro do it.

Now if you have a slow leak and have done the quick fix I stated then you should be able to drive around fine, but the problem will most likely return maybe the next day or the next month it all depends on what the main problem is. If you have a fast leak that can not be cured with a quick fix and the power steering unit will not hold fluid you should take it to a mechanic as soon as possible. The vehicle should be find to drive without power steering, however it will be difficult to turn.

Either way you should have the problem professional inspected and fixed as soon as you can. You may be able to solve it temporarily, but eventually you may find yourself turning right, losing the power steering, and side swiping another vehicle. Depending on the size of your vehicle you may or may not be able to control it without power steering. Power steering issues are certainly not something you want wait to get fixed.


Driving without power steering is possible, but difficult. It should not be considered "safe" but it will get you to the garage.

And a slow leak can have a quick fix, but should be serviced soon.

If you are having power steering problems, you can do without temporarily, but you should get it serviced as soon as you can!

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Comments 70 comments

Wadey101m 7 years ago

Thanks ever so much for the answer. I've now checked the fluid over the past few days, and it seems ok. I measured the level and it's remained the same. The steering seems intermittent and sometimes works as normal, I now also have a high pitch squeel coming from under the bonnet. Is the car safe to drive to the garage or shall I get it towed there? If it's not the fluid, is there anything else that it could be, because I'm now getting extremely worried about the possible expense. Thanks

Ding.A.Ling123 profile image

Ding.A.Ling123 7 years ago Author

Hmm, if your power steering fluid level is fine and your power steering is whining(most likely the high pitch squeal you're hearing) then your power steering pump may not be working. The cost for a new pump varies by vehicle, call your local auto parts store and ask. I would say the vehicle is fine to drive to the garage, just be careful when turning.

Wadey101m 7 years ago

Thanks ever so much for the advice, I took it down to the garage the other day, and had to get a new pump. Cost around £100 but I'm glad I've got my steering back. Thanks again.

linjingjing profile image

linjingjing 7 years ago

This article is very helpful to me

mikey d 7 years ago

all god stuff but do you put stop leak in when engin is hot or cold do you put it in and drive or put it in and leave over night

Ding.A.Ling123 profile image

Ding.A.Ling123 7 years ago Author

Sorry, you put the stop leak in while the car is cold and then drive it for a while until it heats to normal temperature.

Kevin 7 years ago

I noticed this morning that my battery light was on (even though there are no apparent battery problems) and I had no power steering. I checked the fluid level and there's fluid there, but just under the minimum level and there is no apparent damage to the hose running from the reservoir to the engine. I have a 2005 Ford Escape. Please let me know what you think the problem may be. Thanks!

sol cruz 7 years ago

my 2oo3 Suburban manifested some noise from the gearbox and occasional heavy steering.we were advised by a Gm mechanic to replace the steering gearbox which we did(an AC Delco remanufactured).Steering went well but two weeks later there was manifested noise,a bearing type hum midway when steering to the right and heavy steering was felt again.Upon closer inspection we found noise coming fro the steering pump(AC Delco remanufactured),so we replaced the steering pump.7 days later it felt heavy again.what seems to be the problem?can it be the hose ?FYi,unit has 16K miles now and had only 13K when bought 4 months ago.we also replaced upper and lower ball joints,front shock bushings,tie rods(l&r) and rack ends.Need your help.Thanks

john E 7 years ago

Symptom: the steering wheel shakes. When starting off during and slowing down. the front wheels seem to wiggle rapidly back and forth.

john E 7 years ago

It is a Pontiac Grand Prix 2006 98,000 mile on it

Chigo 7 years ago

Hey maybe you guys can help, when driving over a puddle of water my power steeringstops working and then kicks back in do you know what could cause this??

Cody 6 years ago

your belt is probably slipping, it gets wet, slips, drys out, then grips and you get your P/S back

aria 6 years ago

Hello everyone! I need help. I have a mercedes clk 320. The steering wheel does not pull to the left of the right as I drive BUT when I turn far to the left or to the right the car seems to pull the steering wheel further in that direction. Typically if you turn the wheel all the way it will auto-correct and return to the center. However, My car does the opposite...if I turn the wheel almost completely to either side the car pulls it to that side unless I hold it firmly and prevent it. What is wrong with my car? what should I do to try and fix it on my own first??? PLEASE HELP!!!

daniel h 6 years ago

issue: when stopped, the steering is extremely hard. As soon as I move forward, the steering goes back to normal. This just started happening, so I am wondering if someone knows any causes of this. Thanks.

Alexander 6 years ago

Daniel, it sounds like you have a weak/broken pump.

sim 6 years ago

when I turn my steering,can hear d noise de..de..de.. what is d problem ? anyone can give advise.thanks.

Meryl 6 years ago

I have a fiat Palio which has power steering but over the last few days my steering has become too flexible and I have to turn my steering wheel right round to get it to take the corner - why is this happening?

john 6 years ago

hello everyone i hope u can help .... my steering went stiff the other nite whilst driving so i checked fluid levels n topped it up slightly , but when i turn car on my steering is fine but after a few minutes it goes stiff again ,is my pump knackered ?????

Junior 6 years ago

Ok, i had to change my power steering hose due to a fast leak. So I purchased new hose which ended up being the wrong one. I drove my vehicle without a hose while waiting for the correct replacement hose. After I put the new hose in and topped it off my power steering doesn't work & is very difficult to turn. It doesn't leak or make noise. Any advise??

oscar 6 years ago

hello i need help. I took my car to an auto repair shop.

the mechanic told me that they were going to replace the power steering pressure hose.when i got my car back,I drove it like 7 miles and then when i made a turn I heard a pop under the car and lost steering.I got out and I noticed fluid all over the place and a flame near the cathalist.the flame start a fire and consumed my car .my question is power steering is flamable.

Charlee 6 years ago

Hi all, Im having major issues with my ford focus. I heard what I would describe as a "clanking" sound. I openend my bonnet and have noticed that when I put my steering wheel on hard lock a little steering fluid spurts up. Nothing seems to be leaking on my driveway. I know absolutely nothing about cars, my husband is in the army and in Afghanistan at the moment so I cant ask him. Is it safe to drive til I get paid if I keep it topped up because I cant afford it right now and I need to get to work. Please please help.

BobbyT58 6 years ago

My 2005 Ford Escape only leaks when not on level ground such as a slope or hill. is it the hose or pump?

autoparts 6 years ago

Got a slight leak with the power steering.. Loads of info here.. Keep it up mates!

a7xdemon 6 years ago

i have replaced my power steering pump twice now and it is still making a growling noise when i turn the wheel. also it still sounds like bearings are no good in the pump when i start my car over. is it possible i am tighting the pulley too hard to the pump? help please, let me know what you think

Roger 6 years ago

I have a 2001 buick 3.8L at idle in park steering is o.k. but in gear makes a groan & feels jerky,with slight increase in rpm,returns to normal.Is idle speed too low or other problem?Fluid level is good.

hardlymoving profile image

hardlymoving 6 years ago from Memphis, TN

Good article. I replace the power steering fluid with every timing belt replacement job whether the customer asks for it or not; and I don't charge extra for it either. Stop leak fluid is also only temp fix.

tracetymikejr01 6 years ago

hi i have a 1996 dodge intrepid i have replaced the transmission in 07....i recently replaced the rack and pinion and the power steering pump 3 times.....i put the fluid in and im able to drive where i need to go but once the car is off for a while all the fluid is gone. i replaced the hose that goes from the pump to by the windshield as well. my oil light stays on while i drive and i dont need oil....plus my car will stall at certain times as well. and it smells like something is burning. ive but over 7 grand into this car, only bought it for 500.00 i have 3 kids and a low paying job, i need to determine whaT this issue is and if i should even waste money fixing it.....the places i have took it to where i live tell me they cant determine what's wrong with it


gman 6 years ago

got a 2001 dodge truck i lost all power steering at 1 time im thinkin pump

Lorilee 5 years ago

I have one that does not seem to be mentioned here. 1997 dodge Ram Pickup, power steering only works when I use the gas pedal. Trying to park is a real pain. The fluid level is fine I checked it. Any Thoughts?

sean 5 years ago

can a car lose power due to power steering leak?

Ding.A.Ling123 profile image

Ding.A.Ling123 5 years ago Author

Thank you everyone! Here are some answers to many of your questions.

John- Sounds like your power steering pump may be dying on you. More information would help.

Junior- Check for dirt and air in the pump.

Charlee- If your fluid spurts when the wheel is turned hard you may be maxing out your turning radius and if your pump and seals are worn they may leak a bit when hard pressure is applied. It is probably a seal that can't handle that much stress, you should be okay as long as you don't turn the steering wheel all the way when turning. Although the problem will need to be fixed sooner or later.

Roger- Sounds like your pump is going out. What happens is when you put the car in gear the RPMs lower and the pump does not have enough power, when you raise your RPMs the pump gets more power and functions properly. The pump should work at lower RPMs as well, if it's not it's generally going bad.

Tracetymikejr01- Sounds like you have many separate problems not just one single problem. As for the power steering fluid leaking out when you park; it may be a worn out pump or seal. When there is pressure in the line the fluid stays in but when you turn the engine off and the pressure goes away the fluid is able to leak out most likely from a worn out seal.

gman- more information would help, could be your belt or pump or something else. Please explain.

Lorilee- Sounds like your pump is going out. What happens is this; the pump does not have enough power when your RPMs are low. When you push the gas it raises the RPMs enough to give more power to your pump which allows you to turn easily. If you pump is not working at lower RPMs it is getting old and will likely eventually stop working all together.

sean- No. your car won't lose power to a power steering fluid leak.

Robbie 5 years ago

Hi Everyone,

I have an issue with my power steering. Over the winter it would wine once started but would calm down after a while. One of my lines rusted through and I replaced the pipe with rubber hose and bound it with some hose clamps. The leak persisted so I added some power steering sealant and put an extra clamp right around the brim of the hose where it met pipe again as I figured this was where the leak was coming from. The leak seems to have stopped but now two weeks later my steering is stiff only when the wheel is cut at certain angles. For instance, it is stiff when the wheels are straight, but when the steering wheel is turned more than 45 degrees either way it loosens again, but then stiffens again at 90 degrees. I'm wondering if this is the sealant acting up and if I just have to drain and refill. Anyone have any insight?

Michael Corral 5 years ago

About how much does it cost, ball park, to have pro fix the leak, just a range would be very helpful. Thanks!

Jessica 5 years ago

I took my vehicle in to have the wheel bearings checked and get a quote for their replacement. When the machanic called he told me he had noticed my power steering rack was leaking and would need to be replaced.(I have since found this mechanic has a reputation for not being reliable and trying to trick people into paying more) I have no problem turning my wheel and the only thing I can hear is a slight grinding noise when turning my vehicle at a low speed. There is no puddle under my car and my fluid levels seem fine. Do you think I should be ok and maybe it was just a trick to get me to pay him for an additional repair I dont need? This mechanic seems to specifically like to give a hard time to women who he thinks he can pull one over on easily...Thank you.

pamela 5 years ago

@ Jessica... if your level are fine and you don't see any puddles, I would def get a second opinion on that.

John 5 years ago

I had my power steering pump replaced 4 times!!!On a 2002 Mercedes ML500 SUV. Also the hoses replaced. But after a few days the grinding/moaning sound comes back. I installed a (gas) filter in line the low pressure side...didn't help much. Back after having the pump replaced the 1st and then the 4th time, took a drive approx 2 hours...and the groaning started up again. So I wonder if perhaps the fluid is not cooling enough? If its the rack/gears; the pro at alinement shop was hesitant in replacing the rack..but maybe I should invst in replacing it anyway?? Any help appreciated!!

John Bar 5 years ago

I had a power steering leak and fixed the line got all the air out but still feels like i got standard steering and the pump is running smooth what could it be??

ANURAG 5 years ago


edd 5 years ago

Have a fast leak on the pressure line going into the power steering pump. I've changed o ring but still leaks fast can anyone help out. Thanks

Mike 5 years ago

I'm having an issue with my power steering lately. I drive a 1999 Dodge Intrepid w/ a 2.7 L engine. My car will make a high pitched whine when I first start it up and the whine goes higher as I accelerate. The whine will sometimes change pitch when I turn the wheel and I can feel a vibration through it as well.

The power steering will sometimes go out while I'm driving down the road, and other times it'll work just fine. It seems to be using up a lot of fluid as I'll top off the reservoir and then it'll be half-way gone by the time I check it again.

I've taken it into the shop to have them look at it, but they didn't notice any obvious problems. The mechanic said something about the steering rack and variable assist, but I don't remember what he said about those.

Anyone have any ideas?

Moshe 5 years ago

I have installed a new steering pump and filled in the fluid but the steering is still heavy .but the is no noise or leaks

Amie 5 years ago

very helpful. I have a hole on the return pipe and was worried about driving my car to the garage to get it fixed. I know i will just need muscles!!!

amanda 5 years ago

I was just driving on the highway and i heard a loud pop noise then my battery light came on and the steering wheel locked up i pulled over because im a girl and no nothing about cars someone mentioned i blew my power steering?does that sound correct? and if so does the battery light being on have something to do with that?

Georgina 5 years ago

Sometimes while driving the steering will be so hard. I turn it off and then when I turn it back on its good. When I am at a stop light or parked idle the wheel will wiggle (intermitently) and make a faint rattling noise. It's an 08 ford escape, so an electric power steering I think. Not sure if I'm calling it the right thing. Thanks.

CASE 4 years ago

so i have been driving without powersteering for just under a year and a half.....leaks like a siv

can the steering fail alltogeather eventually?

or is it just a rack and pinion?

antreas 4 years ago

why in my car appear hold while i driving

Mike W 4 years ago

Hi, I having just arrived home off holiday to a flat battery on my 1.7 2004 diesel astra, charged the battery over night all started next day, the following day was flat again, changed battery for new one, all ok except now I have no power steering, and I don't have any idea as to what the problem is. Can anybody shed some light on the issue. Thanks, Mike.

Aijay 4 years ago

Hi i had an overheating problem with some burning smell yesterday and my engine went off. I packed off the express way, allowed radiator to cool before filling it with water. Afterwards, i tried to start the car to no avail. Thought it was battery issue after slight touch on the battery, car started but i discovered that my power steering had gone stiff. Pls what could be wrong with my car- Its a jeep liberty.

Ika 4 years ago

hi. After fitting the CV joint the steering wheel became stiff. what could be the problem? My car is A3.

seth 4 years ago

how do u fix power steering pump if you put motor oil in it

jessica 4 years ago

my power steering pump was just changed two days ago and on fri it sounded and drove perfect howerver today it is back to the annoying noise and very hard to turn unless i am accelerating..the belt is new and on correctly,the rack and pin was chenged in the past year and this is the 3rd power steering pump in the last 6 months!!!!!!!! What in the world could be wrong with my car?? :(

Sean 4 years ago

my power steering has gone and i noticed the level of fluid is still normal and there is no visible damage to any lines i am guessing its my pump...but idk

Lynn 4 years ago

I had my cart out the other day and just went to turn back in my driveway and something to do with the power steeering must have broke because the fluid leaked all out in my driveway and when the power steering container(for lack of better knowledge) was checked it was empty of fluid. It is a 2001 Grand Am. Does than mean it is a line or the pump. Sorry guys I know the basics of a car but being a woman do not know alot about this stuff.

Jeremey 4 years ago

I'm having an issue with my power steering. Not sure what's causing it but after I driving for a while my power steering pump started to whine. I pulled over and popped the hood and power steering fluid has sprayed all over the driver side. It appears to be coming from the cap. So I cleaned it all off and added more fluid and it runs fine for a while and then it does it again. It happens about every 10 miles or so. I don't notice any difference in the trucks steering either everything fills smooth. I have 2002 Dodge Dakota quad cab.

Jennifer 4 years ago

Hi, I have a 08 Chrysler Sebring. Over time, it has devoloped this whinny noise snd still remains. They have tOld us it was the idler pulley at first, we had both upper snd lower changed. Still there. Then it was said to be the power steering pump, but my car turned fined before. So we had that replaced, but now with a new pump on it is hard to turn. We've gone thru 2 pumps thinking we had a bad one. What could be causing this? Please help.

Nikos 4 years ago

When im driving for like 15minutes, my steering wheel starts to get stiff and then it comes to a point where i have no turning at all, to the left or right and i feel like my steering wheel is going to snap off on me. I pull over pop the bonet, switch the car off and wait for like 8 minutes and restart it again and then its fine again until i drive another 15 minutes and the same thing happens. My only thought is, its either the serpentine ( Drive Belt) or the idler pully that's been worn out all the power steering sensor. I drive a 2008 Holden Astra, wish i could just know exact what is causing this problem, because it is very dangerous...

motirabbit 4 years ago

I have a 97 gmc yukon with a power steering leak. I changed the pump, the pressure hose, power steering box. Still leaking from a pressure switch. That part they don't make any more and the only thing i need is the seals for that switch. They say there is a by-pass kit for that but can't find it. Help pleeeaaasee!!!

amit 4 years ago

the power steering oil store return line oil com back please give advise

Becky 4 years ago

My husband and I bought a used hhr about 30 days ago, and the dealer said that they did a check on all the systems in the vehicle and everything was fixed or fine...yet here we are 30 days later and my power steering shut off while I was driving twice! But when I turned the car off and on again it was fine again...that could have been really bad if I had been going 70 on the interstate! My baby and my little boy were in the car with me too! I'm not sure the dealer was totally honest with us when we bought this car. What could be the problem?

Nick 4 years ago

Shit you think that's bad. I bought an MR2 and 90 miles later the engine seized... Dealer failed to put oil in it.. anyways.. my 1992 Cadillac El Dorado Doral decided to have a power steering fail.. out of nowhere... drove it last night at 12 am everything was fine.. it dropped to a chilly 27 degrees. probably colder than that over night... hopped in and it didn't work at all.. all day... =/ Any thoughts??? Thanks

david 4 years ago

69 ford f250. my power steering pump and gear have been replaced, but the power steering doesn't work when going straight or on the highway. when stopped or going slow, it works fine ...

Ed 4 years ago

The fluid is leaking through the sensor and is coming out where the wire connects to it can I plug the sensor to stop it until I can replace it or will that affect the engine idol. It is a 96 fairmont Ghia.

Ed 4 years ago

well I plugged it up and there seems to be no difference to the idol or steering obviously I will replace it but it has left me wondering what the hell is the dam thing doing in there if you can just plug it up with no difference to the engine or steering.

david 3 years ago

I recently had to fix an actuator in my step dads ingnition systen i remove the upper steering column fixed it replaced all the parts and everything was fine, except his ability to turn what can affect the power steering in the upper culumn I have no wires plugs or parts missing or loose. The car has been sitting for a while , however his fluid levels were low then he added them and nothing changed still no autocorrect Help!!!

dave 2 years ago

how do tell if my jeep has variable assist power steering

18 months ago

2007 ford fiesta sportvan power steering away we need someone to fix its

electronic and needs coded we are in Glasgow Not John over at Carntyne please very unhelpful and rude.

Erin 17 months ago

I have a 99 Toyota Camry, and the other day I noticed something leaking under my car beside my front drivers side tire towards the middle. Small drips but they continued over a few days. Saw that I was at the MIN line for COLD on my power steering fluid, which is odd because I just got an oil change a month and a half ago and they saw no issue with low fluid. Does it make sense that I'm low on the PS fluid but yet I have no whining noise on my wheel, and that it's very easy to turn?? Just wondering if I can go until the end of the week driving it , because i cant get in to get it looked at until then. Is it safe? And has this ever happened to anyone else?

jeff 17 months ago

My girlfriend has 97 Chrysler Sebring convertible I replaced the high pressure hose on power steering pump once u turn real hard to the left it starts to pour out would that be the return line or something else

veronica 16 months ago

so i toke my car to the shop and they told me that my power steering pump is broken and when i whent to pick up my van on the way home i was driving good but its still happening when i turn sometimes im having the same problem the steering wheel it gets hard dont know why they told me they fixed it doesnt happen as much but in times it will happen even to reverse it gets hard

Ted 13 months ago

I need help put new spacer on resovore and now pump is whining

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