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Replacing a Power Steering Pump: What You Need To Know!

Replacing a Power Steering Pump

A power steering pump is what helps to steer your car. It is controlled by a series of pulleys. If you need to replace it your car will tell you by way of specific noises and symptoms. This article will give you an overview of how to know when you need a new one; how much it costs to replace; and what’s involved in replacing it yourself. The cost to have it replaced at a shop can vary from 

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How do you Know if you Need a New Power Steering Pump?


In the case of a bad power steering pump, your car will speak to you with one of these symptoms. 

  • High pitched squeal whenever the engine is turned on. This is the lesser of all the evil. A high pitch squeal could signify a leak or even better, the power steering fluid of ATF or low. If you ignore the squeal then the  pump will need to be replaced and the belt will need realignment. 
  • Steering wheel that is harder to turn than usual.  When the wheel is turning harder than normal then the power steering pump is failing. It is time to replace the pump. 
  • The steering wheel is not responding to you turning it. In this case the power steer pump is not functioning properly.  This means that your power steering pump has a damaged gear and needs replacement.                                                                                                   
  • Car that is growling or groaning is the most serious. In this case it means that your power steering pump is about to fail. Get this car to a place you can replace it at either yourself or at a shop. This means it has already passed through another symptom. 
  • Vibrations on steering wheel. This means that your power steering pump is going. Usually you can flush your system and it will fix the problem. If it does not then you have to replace the power steering pump. 
  • Voltage Draw. This is a common symptom on many cars such as Lincolns. This means that it is taking more energy to run and is about to fail. 
  • Slipping steering wheel. If your steering wheel feels like it slips when you try to steer, chances are your belts are worn and need to be replaced. 
  • Car pulls to one side. If you are noticing that you are is pulling to one side and you have already checked out your alignment then chances are that it is your power steering pump gears. If the gears are not getting enough fluid on them they begin to fail. You may have a leak that caused the damage to your power steering pump. In this case it needs to be repaired.  
  • Discolored or Foam like power steering fluid.  When your power steering fluid has bubbles or is discolored this means that air or water has gotten into the system causing damage to the system. This means that the power steering pump will need to be replaced and the leak location needs to be identified.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


Can you still drive your car if it needs a new power steering pump?


You can still drive your car if you believe it may need a new power steering pump. The trouble with driving it is that you will damage the power steering pump by driving it when the fluid has leaked out and then you will be forced to replace it. You should however replace it as soon as you can. This is because you do not know when it is going to fail completely. When it fails you will lose control of steering the vehicle. This could be very dangerous especially if you are on a windy road when it occurs. 


How much does it cost to replace or rebuild your power steering pump?


While it varies on what the labor and parts cost is for your exact car you can expect to pay between $400 and $700 to have a shop replace it or $150 to $250 to replace it yourself. If you have car knowledge and are mechanically inclined, than you can probably do it yourself. 


How long does it take to replace it?


To replace the power steering pump yourself expect it to take between 3 and 5 hours. This is why the cost at the repair shop is so high. 


How long do Power Steering Pumps usually last for?


The exact amount of time or miles a power steering pump does vary depending upon the car and driving conditions. You can expect your new power steering pump to last about 100,000 miles. 


What equipment and supplies will I need to replace it?


You will need the following equipment to replace the power steering pump:

  • New Power Steering Pump for your car
  • Minimum of 2 Quarts of Power Steering Fluid or ATF
  • Power Steering Pulley Set which is used to remove and attach pulleys. Some auto parts stores wil loan these out. 
  • Socket Set
  • Open End Wrench Set
  • Leverage Pipe or Extended Bar which is useful when pulleys become hardened. 
  • Wheel Bearing Grease
  • Hydraulic Line Wrenches
  • Boxed End or Ratchet Wrench
  • Drain Pan
  • New Power Steering Drive or Serpentine Belt
  • Rags
  • Threadlocker


What Safety Equipment is Needed?


Power Steering Fluid is corrosive so it is very important to use safety equipment. Wear protective eyewear, hat, jumpsuit, plastic gloves, and shoe covers.  


What steps do I take in removing the old power steering pump?


Step 1: Gather All Materials. You don’t want to start the job and then realize you are missing something. 


Step 2: Disconnect Battery Cables. This is the most important step in most automotive repair jobs. 


Step 3: Disconnect power steering belt.


Step 4. Get the drain pan ready to remove old power steering fluid or ATF. 


Step 4: Take off power steering pressure and return hoses from the old power steering pump and confirm that nothing else is connected to the pump. 


Step 5: Remove the pulley and bolts. This should be straightforward as long as you have the correct tools. 


Step 6: Remove the bolts that connected the power steering pump to the car. 


Step 7: Take out the old power steering pump. 


How do I put the new one in?


Step 1: Place the new power steering pump into the bracket. 


Step 2: Tighten the new power steering pump by replacing and tightening the bolts down the spec. 


Step 3: Install power steering pump pulley using the pulley press. This is done using the pulley    press. There are two pieces. 


Step 4: Begin by screwing in the hub press through the bolt. 


Step 5: Next, grease up the pump hub and pulley. 


Step 6: Finally, replace pulley on the hub. Do this by aligning the pulley and attach belts. Line up power steering pulley and press. Adjust power steering pulley until its in line with the crankshaft pulley. 


Step 7: Attach Air Conditioning and Serpentine Belts, be sure they line up. If they do not line up, your belts will wear faster than normal. 


Step 8: Clean Up. Be sure to dispose of old power steering fluid properly. 


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