Are you the type of person who likes to know how everything works? You may even have bought a selection of tools, a trolley jack and have cleared some space in your garage. When something goes wrong with your car, you intend to fix this yourself, especially if you have a little bit of time at the weekend. Nevertheless, when that fateful day rolls around you may be filled with some trepidation as you attempt to find the underlying cause of a growing problem. If you've noticed an issue with your car's steering this could be a faulty pump and if so, where do you start?
How Power Steering Works
Power-assisted steering is designed to make the driver's job a lot easier than it would otherwise be. Without this novelty, the driver would have to put in a lot of effort to turn the vehicle in a tight space or at slow speed, due to the resistance caused when the road wheels hit the paved surface.
This system uses hydraulic fluid to augment the driver's effort, so that the steering rack forces each wheel to turn. You will certainly notice if something is wrong when you're trying to manoeuvre the vehicle and may also hear a strange, growling noise.
The issue is likely linked to the power steering pump which can wear out with time, as gaskets and seals begin to fail. To fix the issue, you will have to remove and replace the pump, and this is where the fun begins.
Firstly, you need to locate the pump itself and it is typically found in between the engine block and the firewall, close to the steering rack. Look at the bottom of the steering column as it feeds through the bulkhead from the steering wheel and you won't be far away. As mentioned, this system is full of hydraulic fluid and this will need to be removed before you can take anything loose. You should also remove the negative battery cable to disconnect the power.
One of the hardest jobs will be to remove the pulley that connects the steering pump to the engine. This may require a special type of spanner to help loosen the tensioner, so that you can disengage the piece. Once this is done you can disconnect the bolts and brackets that hold the steering pump in place and prize it away from its seat.
While you are doing this, you should always replace the pipes that feed the fluid back and forth, especially if they are showing signs of wear and tear. However, if you've been successful to this stage, you can now begin to replace everything. Make sure that you line it all up correctly and, of course, that you are fitting the correctly-rated pump.
This job may be too complicated for your first foray into amateur mechanics and you might be better off leaving it to the professionals instead. Get on the phone to your nearest repair shop so your power steering can be repaired as quickly as possible.
I've been running an auto service shop for the past 30 years. The trends in cars have changed a lot over that time, and cars are becoming a lot more complicated and automated. People can't fix many items on their own cars any more as you need a computer to diagnose most issues. People use their cars a lot more these days as we live further away from workplaces and schools so it's important for me to be able to get cars back quickly. I have had to keep learning about how the new cars run and I keep a lot of hints on this site so you can all learn the things you can do to make your cars run better.