Modern vehicles these days have a power steering pump, which has the job of pressurizing hydraulic fluid and making it easier to turn your steering wheel. Here are a few signs that your power steering pump is damaged and in need of repair or replacement.
The first problem that you are likely to notice is hard steering. If the power steering pump is failing to move the power steering fluid, it's going to result in it being much harder to turn the steering wheel at all times. You may find that you struggle to make sharp turns because the steering wheel feels like it is stuck, or not able to react as quickly as you would like because of the steering wheel being difficult to move. Not only is this an annoyance, but it is a big safety concern, and justifies looking into the power steering pump as soon as possible.
Power steering fluid may be leaking out from the power steering pump due to a crack in the housing. This can cause a red fluid to come from underneath the hood of your vehicle. However, make sure that you can track down where that leak is coming from since there are multiple fluids in your vehicle that are red in color. It can help to park your car in one spot and see if you can identify the area where fluid is leaking, and check to see if that's below the pump's location.
Not sure where the power steering pump is located? It may be right next to the serpentine belt, which is how power is supplied to most power steering pumps. However, it could be attached to the steering rack or steering column as well.
Do you hear a weird squealing noise when starting your vehicle or turning your steering wheel? This is a problem potentially related to the power steering pump. The sound can even get louder as you drive at a faster speed, because of how the power steering pump is powered from the serpentine belt.
A power steering pump that has experienced a lot of wear and tear can generate metal shavings in the power steering fluid reservoir. It is worth taking a look at the fluid in the power steering pump to see if it is clear or if it has those metal shavings in the fluid.
Get in touch with an auto repair shop to learn more.