Symptoms of a Bad Power Steering Pump (and Replacement Cost)


In this article, we are going to go over the basic functions of a power steering pump, bad power steering pump symptoms, and the average cost to replace a power steering pump. So here we go:

Basic Functions of a Power Steering Pump

All modern-day cars have power steering capabilities in them. In order for this ability to work, it needs a rotary pump to provide the steering with hydraulic power.

The belt and pulley of the vehicle’s engine are what drives this pump to work properly. The power steering pump is basically an oval chamber which has spinning retractable vanes inside of it. These spinning vanes turn low-pressure hydraulic fluid into high-pressure fluid.

The pump regulates the flow of this fluid based on the speed that is demanded by the car’s engine. The faster the speed, the more fluid that is moved by the pump. However, there is a pressure-relief valve in the pump which ensures the pressure stays within a healthy range and doesn’t get too high.

Bad Power Steering Pump Symptoms

If you have a failing power steering pump, then there are a few signs you should watch out for. The first symptom is a whining noise that you hear each time you turn the steering wheel in your car. This is a clear indication that your power steering system is faulty. Usually, there is either a low level of power steering fluid in the system or your vane pump is leaking fluid.

Another symptom of a faulty power steering pump is when the steering wheel does not respond right away when you try to turn it. You may also hear a whining noise from this as well.

Other symptoms you could experience are a steering wheel that takes a lot of effort to turn the wheel and squealing noises when you first start up the vehicle. As you drive, there may even be groaning noises made too.

But no matter what noises there are, they will surely be noticeable and they’ll be a clear sign that you need to first make sure you have adequate power steering fluid and then take your vehicle to a mechanic.

Power Steering Pump Replacement Cost

The cost to replace your power steering pump is likely to be somewhere between $360 and $740, depending on the type of vehicle that you have. The labor costs associated with the replacement job should be around $160 to $240 and the parts costs should be between $200 to $500.

To get the best deal, you should get at least a couple quotes from local independent mechanics as hourly rates can vary quite a bit. If you bring the vehicle to the service center of your nearest dealership, you can expect to pay hundreds of dollars more than a local auto repair shop. So, take that into consideration when you shop around for a mechanic.



  1. Steering is very difficult out of the driveway and very screechy even when fluid is topped up. After 150 ft. of driving everything settles down, and steering normally. I do have fluid leaks that I am watching. I had pump, resivoir, and hoses replaced 28k miles ago. Would a bad rack and pinion act this way?.


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