5 Symptoms of Bad Power Steering Pump (And Replacement Cost)

Most vehicles these days have power steering which allows you to turn the steering wheel smoothly without having to apply too much strength or pressure to it. Power steering works because of a pump that allows power steering fluid to flow into the gear for the steering.

This pump and gear are responsible for applying the proper amount of assistance so that the steering wheel can turn easily for the driver. Without the power steering pump, power steering would not be possible.

Related: Hydraulic vs Electric Power Steering

Top 5 Bad Power Steering Pump Symptoms

Power steering pumps will often last for years and sometimes even the lifetime of a vehicle. But not always. At some point, the possibility of the power steering pump failing in your vehicle may come up and it will likely be obvious when this happens.

There are plenty of signs you may notice when this starts to happen. Below are five of the most common symptoms to look out for when the power steering pump goes bad.

1) Difficulty Turning Wheel

steering wheel noise

The most common symptom you will experience is when you have difficulty turning the steering wheel. When you go to make a turn (especially at low speeds), the steering wheel will feel very stiff and you’ll have to use a lot of strength and force just to make a basic turn.

This should prompt you to check the power steering pump (or its connections) because it likely means one or the other is the issue.

2) Whining Noise

strange noise

When you try to turn your steering wheel, you might hear a whining noise. This is an indication that a problem exists inside of your power steering system.

The whining noise could be due to many reasons, one of which being that the power steering pump has a leak in it. Either that or the power steering fluid might be too low. But you’ll want to check on both just in case.

3) Squealing Noise

serpentine belt squealing noise

A squealing noise might be heard when you first turn on your vehicle’s engine. This noise will remain consistent for about a minute after the car is started.

The reason for this likely has to do with a bad power steering pump that is making the belt inside the system slip. This means you must replace the pump and realign your belt.

4) Groaning Noise

This is the worst noise of them all. If you have neglected to repair or replace your already dysfunctional power steering pump, it will eventually make groaning noises.

This usually occurs if there is a leak or insufficient fluid going through the pump, which will ultimately ruin the whole power steering system.

Not only will you have to replace the pump at this point, but you may have to replace the whole system as well.

5) Chrome Flakes in Fluid

Checking the power steering fluid can tell you a lot about the condition of the power steering pump. Aside from assuring there is an adequate amount of power steering fluid in the system, you’ll also want to check to see the color and condition of the fluid.

If you see dark gray colors or chrome flakes in the fluid, then it means your pump may be damaged.

Power Steering Pump Replacement Cost

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power steering pump replacement cost

The cost of replacing a power steering pump will generally vary depending on which mechanic you bring it to and the make and model of your vehicle. However, on average, the total cost of replacing a power steering pump will be somewhere between $450 and $1,100. This price is comprised of the labor cost and parts cost.

The average labor cost is typically between $200 and $600.The average parts cost is at least $250 and at the most $500. Unless you are a skilled mechanic, it wouldn’t be worth trying to replace this pump yourself, and a failed power steering pump can be a safety issue. It is worth spending the extra money on the labor to make sure the repair is done right.


11 thoughts on “5 Symptoms of Bad Power Steering Pump (And Replacement Cost)”

  1. I was told today by a mobile mechanic who was replacing lost alternator belts, that I would need to replace my power steering pump soon. I haven’t noticed any noises, but it does seem like the steering is iffy, becoming loose feeling, especially in high winds or being passed by a tractor trailer. Is that indicative of a bad power steering pump?

    • Could be, I’m not sure. Why did he say you needed a new power steering pump?

      Typically loose steering is caused by a number of other things such as worn suspension bushings, poor alignment, or an issue with the steering rack itself (not the power steering pump).

  2. Power steering 07 Dakota. Fluid was spraying out or so I thought the high pressure line, replaced the line, still spraying out at the same spot where the line threads into the pump. Now is there a piston that’s supposed to be depressed with the line being threaded in? Would that piston be stuck then?

  3. Please tell me it is possible. I need an installation of a power steering to my 2003 Nissan bakkie 1400. Please do not tell me it is impossible. Just help me to get it done.

  4. Good Morning,

    I was informed that my power steering pump has to be replaced plus I will need a front end alignment after the power steering pump is replaced. I was quoted $850.00. The car I have is a Chrysler 300 and the year is 2005. Is this quote accurate or is it less or higher

    • That’s not unreasonable. The alignment wouldn’t be related to the pump replacement. So for both services, it’s not a bad deal at all.

    • You likely have air leak somewhere. Check all the connections between the reservoir and the power steering pump to make sure everything is tight. It’s also possible (less likely) that there’s a small hairline crack in the pump housing.

  5. I have changed my power steering pump and my tires pressure is ok, but my steering is still hard when I am trying to make a basic turn while driving. What can be the problem?

    • Power steering fluid is full and in good condition? Check the condition of your serpentine belt as well. Also, check the ball joints and tie rod ends to make sure they’re properly lubricated. If not, you’ll get some resistance when trying to turn.

  6. Is the power steering pump in Peugeot 207 diesel 1.6 engine guaranteed to be replaced by Peugeot dealer
    I was told by Peugeot that power steering module is guaranteed
    Does the pump is part of the module
    Thanks for your advise and information


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