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Honda Odyssey has hard steering

Updated on March 13, 2012

Honda Odyssey has hard steering

Honda Odyssey, hard steering: This seems to be a major problem on certain Honda makes and models. We have had more than a few disgruntled customers come in with the hard steering problem on their Hondas. Honda has issued a TSB (technical service bulletin) on this very problem and there are more than a few complaints out there. This peeked my curiosity and I decided to see what other techs were recommending to fix this problem with the Honda's hard steering issue.

The TSB basically says that there is an issue with the power steering pump and or reservoir. But after looking at Honda forums and other guides, I am learning that some shops are suggesting everything from a strut problem to a full rack and pinion replacement.

I went back through our service records and found that in 2010, we have had 7 Hondas come in for a hard steering problem. Not one of them was anything other than a power steering pump issue. So, in hopes of saving you some grief at an underhanded shop, I put together some things that you can do yourself to test your Honda's power steering pump.

Honda power steering pump

Reman power steering pump
Reman power steering pump

Honda Odyssey hard steering complaint

Here are the specs on this particular Honda that we will be working with today:

VEHICLE:  2006 Honda Odyssey EX 3.5L, V6, MFI, SOHC, VIN -, Eng Desg J35A6

MILEAGE:  121173

Customer Concern: The Honda Odyssey has hard steering when the engine speeds are low. Usually when pulling into a parking spot.

Tests to determine of the power steering pump and or reservoir are faulty:

1. If power steering pressure gauges are available attach them to the vehicle and check for the correct pressure at idle and at 2500 RPM's.

2. Look in the power steering reservoir for fluid flow. At idle there should be a large amount of movement of fluid inside the reservoir.

3. Check the steering shaft universal joint for being worn.

4. Flush and refill the system with new fluid. Check to see if the problem is better

Honday Odyssey hard steering: Potential causes and confirmed fix

Potential Causes:

Power Steering Pump

Restricted Reservoir

Steering Shaft U-Joint

Confirmed Fix:

Replaced Power Steering Pump


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    • profile image

      Jacob 6 years ago

      I have a sneaky suspicion that a lot of these problems are related to the flow control or pressure relief valve at the pump outlet fitting. My pump moves fluid through the reservoir, but doesn't give enough pressure for steering assist at engine idle. Wish there was some way to adjust the flow control valve. Or replace it without replacing the entire pump.

    • hardlymoving profile image

      hardlymoving 7 years ago from Memphis, TN

      I think the problem with these pumps may be due to the PS fluid going bad. They're usually pitch black when the cars reach 100k miles. Unfortunately, the manufacturer doesn't recommend fluid replacement. I change out the fluid as a basic PM. Funny how Honda says use only Honda PS fluid. Pumps still go bad.