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Power Steering Pump

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Power Steering Pump

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What is a power steering pump and where is it located?

The power steering pump is an important part of your vehicle’s hydraulic power steering system. Power steering helps you steer the vehicle more easily by applying hydraulic pressure to the steering gear. This means your drive to work or to the store can be an easy, pleasant experience and not an intense arm workout. The majority of vehicles on the road today have hydraulic power steering.

The power steering pump can be found on the front of the engine near the other engine accessories, like the alternator and air conditioning compressor. Its exact location will vary from one engine to another, however. There, on the front of the engine, the power steering pump is driven by a pulley that is connected to the crankshaft pulley by a belt. That powers the pump to send fluid through the lines to the steering gear. A separate rotary valve turns with the steering shaft to open valves that send the fluid to one side or the other of the steering gear depending on which way you are turning the wheels. 

How do I know if my power steering pump needs to be replaced?

If the power steering pump fails, you may find yourself transported back to a time before power steering (only worse since vehicles with power steering have tighter steering ratios than manual steering vehicles), at least as far as your handling is concerned. You will find the vehicle hard to steer, especially at lower speeds. Rolling tires offer less resistance than slow-moving or stationary ones. 

The power steering pump can leak fluid making it much less effective. If you have a power steering fluid leak, you may notice a red, oily discharge where you park. Parking over a piece of cardboard or butcher paper may make the leak easier to identify. A power steering fluid leak could also come from the hoses or the rack and pinion or steering box, so be sure to check them first. 

If the pump is trying to run on low fluid, it might make a high pitched squealing noise. Running the pump too long or too often with low fluid can wear out the internal parts and should be avoided. 

Can I replace a power steering pump myself?

Replacing a power steering pump can be a labor intensive job. You may need to remove other nearby parts to access it. Then you’ll have to take the belt off the power steering pump pulley, remove the pulley, and remove the pump, which will involve disconnecting the hydraulic hoses and pressure switch (if so equipped). There are specialty tools that can make removing the power steering pump pulley easier. You’ll reverse the process to install the replacement power steering pump one. Be sure to have a catch pan ready for the fluid that will pour out when you disconnect the hoses. When the job is complete, refill the fluid and test the steering at low speed to insure that the repair was successful. 

Need a power steering pump replacement?

If your power steering pump has failed, trying to steer your car or truck is not going to be a pleasant experience. You will find that your wheels are hard to turn and that you are getting a much more intense workout than you want to be having while driving. So, be sure to replace your power steering pump as soon as possible if it is not functioning properly. At 1A Auto, we carry a large selection of aftermarket power steering pumps for many makes and models, and at great prices. If your original power steering pump is failing or leaking, a replacement steering pump from 1A Auto is the solution for you!

We also make shopping for a replacement power steering pump for your car, truck, SUV or van easy — we're here to help you select the right part for your vehicle! Call our customer service toll free at 888-844-3393 if you have any questions about our power steering pumps, warranty, compatibility or to purchase, or you can buy online.

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