In the old days, steering a vehicle required drivers to have strong arms and a strong upper body. If they didn’t then it would have been very difficult for them to steer.
Fortunately, power steering was invented to give any driver 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 power steering pump.
Symptoms of Power Steering System Leaks
The first thing you may notice when this happens is an unusual stain on your driveway or garage floor. But the real symptoms will be noticeable when you actually drive your vehicle on the road.
Once power steering fluid starts to leak, the steering wheel will become hard to turn which means the driver will 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 make sure your power steering fluid reservoir is full and top off if necessary. Then you’ll want to troubleshoot the cause of the power steering leak or take it to a mechanic to fix.
Average Repair Costs for Power Steering System Leaks
There are 6 main components of a hydraulic power steering system. They include:
- Power steering pump assembly
- Power steering reservoir tank
- High pressure hydraulic hose
- Power steering fluid return hose
- Steering rack and pinion assembly
- Power steering fluid
Because of this, there are many possible areas for a leak to occur. The leak could come from the pump, reservoir tank, high pressure hose, return hose or rack and pinion assembly.
To know from which area the leak come from, you can get under your vehicle to try to pinpoint the leaking area or simply have a professional find the leak. Below are estimated costs to repair or replace the leaking area of your power steering system.
Power Steering Pump Repair Cost
The average cost to repair a power steering pump is somewhere between $200 and $350.
To replace the power steering pump with a new part, it will cost between $400 and $800 (depending on car model and what shop you take it to).
Power Steering Reservoir Tank Replacement Cost
A power steering reservoir tank leak commonly comes from the cap and hose connector. But sometimes, a clog from the filter of the reservoir tank can cause a spill or noise especially while turning.
The average cost to replace a power steering reservoir tank is somewhere between $150 to $250 depending on the vehicle and how hard it is to access the reservoir.
Power Steering Hose Replacement Cost
Power 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 with new hoses will likely be between $100 and $300 for parts, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. The labor costs for the replacement will be between $80 and $160.
The labor costs depend on the hourly labor rate that the mechanic charges. Most mechanics charge $80 to $120 per hour and a power steering hose replacement service should take about an hour to perform. Therefore, the replacement cost will be between $180 and $460.
Power Steering Hose Repair Cost
If you want a cheaper and temporary alternative to replacing the hose, or if you’re out of town and need an emergency repair, you can fix the hose yourself. All you need is to find a local auto parts store and purchase a male-to-male brass coupler, 2 hose clamps, and something to cut the hose with.
Find the portion of hose which has the leak and cut off the section that’s bad. Insert the coupler inside each hose in the spot you cut out the bad hose and tighten each side via a hose clamp.
This temporary solution should cost you less than $10 and allows you to get back on the road. You’ll eventually want to completely replace the hose since its condition has deteriorated enough where it will likely develop other leaks.
Power Steering Rack and Pinion Repair Cost
The average cost to repair a leak on a rack and pinion assembly will most likely fall somewhere between $500 to $1,200. This is a lot more expensive than other parts of the power steering system since you need to completely overhaul the steering rack and pinion.
This consists of replacing all O rings and replace all oil seals inside the steering rack, and also include a front wheel alignment.
You will most often be better off replacing the rack and pinion and the price difference is quite similar.
While leaks within the power steering system can happen, one tip can help problems from arising. The simple thing you can do is to not hold the steering fully turned for more than 10 seconds since this places a lot of stress on the system.
So to recap, here again are the average repair or replacement costs for various components of your power steering system:
- Repair power steering pump: $200 to $350
- Replace power steering pump: $400 to $800
- Replace power steering reservoir: $150 to $250
- Repair power steering hose: $10
- Replace power steering hose: $180 to $460
- Repair power steering rack and pinion: $500 to $1,000
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