Hydraulic Power Steering Rack and Pinion Leaks: Symptoms and Repair Cost

In the old days, steering required drivers to have strong arms and a strong upper body. If they didn’t then it will be very difficult for them to steer. Fortunately, power steering was invented to give people with weaker arms the ability to steer their vehicle and make turns without much effort. The power steering system involves the use of power steering fluid, hoses, a rack and a pinion and vane pump assy.

Symptoms of hydraulic power steering system leaks

The first thing you may notice when this happens is an unusual stain on the pavement of your driveway. But the real symptoms will be noticeable when you actually drive your vehicle on the road.

Once power steering fluid starts to leak, it will limit the driver’s ability to power steer which means they’ll have to use more upper body strength to turn the steering wheel. Drivers may also start to hear whining or grumbling noises when they turn the wheel. At this point, you need to take your vehicle to a mechanic so they can repair this leak problem and fill up your car with power steering fluid again.

The average cost to repair hydraulic power steering system leaks

Read also: 5 Causes of Steering Wheel Shakes at Low and High Speeds

There are 6 main components on hydraulic power steering systems:

  1. Steering vane pump assy
  2. Power steering reservoir tank
  3. Steering high pressure hose
  4. Steering return hoses
  5. Steering rack and pinion assy
  6. Power steering fluid

And there are many areas that possible to leak, it could be from the vane pump, reservoir tank, high pressure hose, return hose or rack and pinion assy. To know from which area the leak come from, you should hire a good technician to make a proper diagnose and find the exactly leak area. And listed below are costs estimate to repair or replace the parts of steering system:

  • Steering vane pump leak repair cost

The average cost to repair steering vane pump leak is between $200 – $350,  and for replace vane pump assy it will cost between $400 – $800(depending on type or car model)

  • Power steering reservoir tank replacement cost

Power steering reservoir tank leak is commonly come from cap and hose connector, but some times clogged from filter of reservoir tank can cause the strong noise especially while turning. And the average cost to replace power steering reservoir tank is between $150 – $250 (depending on type or car model)

  • Power steering hoses leak repair cost

And for steering hoses are typically made of rubber and they carry the power steering fluid to the rack and pinion of the power steering system. Unfortunately, these rubber hoses tend to crack after a while which causes the fluid they carry to leak.

The actual repair job will likely consist of replacing the power steering high pressure hose or power steering return hose because of the crack it has that leaks fluid. The cost to replace that new hoses will likely be between $100 and $300, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. The labor costs for the replacement will be between $75 and $150. Again, the labor costs depend on the hourly labor rate that the mechanic charges. Most mechanics charge $100 per hour and a power steering hose replacement service should take about an hour to perform. Therefore, the repair cost will be between $200 and $400.

If you want a cheaper and temporary alternative to replacing the hose, you could purchase a seal solution that can plug up any small cracks or holes in the power steering hose. Just remember this is only a temporary solution because the seal will not last very long. You can purchase the seal solution for about $10 to $30 at your local hardware store. Of course, you have to know how to perform the job yourself or else you’ll still have to hire a mechanic to do it for you.

  • Power steering rack and pinion assy repair cost

And the average cost to repair the leak on steering rack and pinion assy, is most likely between $500 to $1000 (depending on type or car model). This become costly because it must be taking complete overhaul steering rack and pinion, which consists of replace all O rings and replace all oil seals inside the steering rack, and also include front wheel alignment.

Read also:  Basic Car Maintenance Tips

To prevent from damage quickly, we need to take good maintenance and good utilization. Simple thing you can do is: do not hold the steering while fully turning for more than 10 seconds.


The Average cost for repair hydraulic power steering system (depending on type or car model):

  • Overhaul power steering rack and pinion: Between $500 to $1000
  • Overhaul power steering vane pump: 200 to 350
  • Replace power steering hoses: $200 and $400
  • Replace power steering reservoir tank: $150 – $250

And the common symptoms of hydraulic power steering system leak is: steering hard to turn and noise while turning.



  1. I have a 2011 AWD traverse and I had the rack and pinion replace 300 miles ago now there is some kind of fluid in side both front fender wells. where could this oil be coming from the power steering pump is full.

    • Check your brake fluid level. You should also take off one of the front wheels to have a closer look. Brake fluid has a very unique smell. I assume you’re sure the fluid in the fender wells wasn’t from before you had the Traverse serviced.

  2. I have a leak that appears to be coming from a plug on the opposite side of where the pinion comes into the rack. Is there a way to replace this ?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.