Where is my Power Steering Fluid Leak?

power steering fluid leakA power steering fluid leak can be one of the most mysterious leaks you can have in your vehicle.  You may have never considered your power steering system, or how it works so your first thought when you find a leak won’t be to check the power steering fluid level.  The hydraulic power steering system in your vehicle is relatively robust so chances are it hasn’t broken before and has never left you working to get your wheels turned.

Hydraulic power steering systems use a pumped attached to the motor of your vehicle and driven by a belt.  This pump pressurizes hydraulic fluid then pumps it down to the actual mechanism that turns your wheels, either a steering gear or rack and pinion.

Since this system is so simple, it rarely has problems so you rarely think about it.  The most common issue you find in a power steering system is a power steering fluid leak.  Different power steering systems use different types of fluid to build pressure and power the steering mechanism but the purpose is always the same.  The type of power steering fluid your system uses is dependent on two things.  First, the pump design that your system uses has to match the viscosity of the fluid used.  Also, the different types of materials used in the system affect the type of fluid required.  Certain metals will need certain additives in the fluid to inhibit corrosion and the seals used will require the correct fluid for lubrication and wear prevention.  No matter what type of fluid used, it always has the chance to leak under the right conditions.

power steering fluid leakBased on the design of your system there are 3 different places you might find a leak.  First, your power steering pump itself may leak.  The leak would be at the point where the pump shaft exits the pump body and is connected to the pulley.  If you have a leak here, you will find fluid dripping from behind the pump pulley.  In this case, the best thing to do is replace your power steering pump.  This is usually a relatively inexpensive maintenance item and these leaks can indicate future problems like bearing or pump failures.  Another common location for a leak is in the hoses or tubing that carry the power steering fluid from the pump to your steering gear or rack.  Where a rubber hose transitions to a hard line or where a hard line screws into the rack or pump are the most common.  Many power steering systems will use a long length of hard pipe in the return line placed towards the front of your vehicle as a type of cooling system so make sure to inspect the full length of hosing and pipe.  If you find a leak at a connection, you can always try tightening the connection or adding Teflon tape to the threads being careful not to let any tape enter the system.  If you have a soft hose leaking it’s best to replace that hose.

The last and most common power steering fluid leak location is in the actual steering gear or rack.  This is the most common leak location because the seals here are subject to the most road grime and dirt that can wear the shafts and seals.  If you have a leak in your steering gear it will either be from the top of the gear where the steering column enters or at the bottom where the pitman arm is attached.  If your vehicle is equipped with a steering rack, the most common place for a leak is where the tie rods connect to the rack and will look like fluid dripping from the accordion cover.  You may also see a leak from where the steering column attaches to the steering rack but these are less common.

If you find a leak in your steering gear or rack and pinion, the best way to seal the leak is to use BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak.  In most cases, these seals are non-replaceable so your only other option is to replace the whole steering rack or gear which can be very expensive.  BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak can stay in your power steering system and will restore and revitalize the seals in your steering rack or steering gear to seal properly and stop your leak.

For more information about BlueDevil Power Steering Stop leak, click on the banner below!
BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak

You can also find BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer at any of our partnering local auto parts stores like:

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Pictures Provided By:

power_steering_fluild_leak.jpg – By Tuckraider – Licensed by Thinkstock Photos – Original Link
power_steering_pump.jpg – By Stason4ic – Licensed by Thinkstock Photos – Original Link

 

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25 responses to “Where is my Power Steering Fluid Leak?

  1. Hi there,
    Got a leaking problem, I’ve changed the bellows on both right and left sides. It stopped leaking for a day and half, then lost all power steering. I checked was low on fluid and jacked it up put fluid in and it poured out. Tightened up all the clamps that I can find. Seemed good till the next day I went under with a flash light the whole area around my reservoir is wet and up underneath. Add fluid and it just keeps leaking out. How can I figure out where this leak is coming from if everything is wet?

    1. Jeff-

      Based on your description, it would be tough to say exactly where the power steering fluid leak is coming from. You could use a dye or a leak detection kit to pinpoint where the leak is coming from. Unfortunately, it sounds like you may be losing fluid a little too quickly for the BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak to be affective. A hard part repair may be your best option.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

    2. I had this same issue. Found out that it was an o-ring that slips onto your power steering pump. But you have to get the o- ring from that same make and model other wise if you just replace it with any o-ring you’ll keep having the same issue.

  2. I put my power steering fluid in with in twenty mins is out again I had to put fluid in it four times in one day could it just be a hose or something

    1. Rebecca-

      It would be hard to say where your power steering fluid is being lost from, however, if you are losing fluid within 20 minutes, it is most likely escaping from a hose not properly connected. We recommend checking the hoses for proper connection and try pinpointing where the leak is coming from.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  3. I have a power steering leak. There is no visible location of power steering fluid on the ground, the engine, or the power steering system. There is however visible signs of power steering fluid on the reservoir cap itself. All around the outside and inside of the cap. Is it possible the cap is bad and causing it to leak. It has been checked on several filling occasions that the cap is on tightly. Any answers would be appreciated.

  4. Hey my power steering is leaking and I’m not sure if its the pump itself or one of the hoses. The area around the pump Is all greasy( I’m guessing from the dried up fluid) and I can’t find a fresh leak anywhere.

  5. I have a power steering leak and it’s on the passenger side front I just added some power steering fluid that stops leak (prestone) how can I tell if it’s the hose or pump

    1. Dawanna-

      Based on your description, you may want to bring the vehicle into a shop, where they can put the vehicle up on a lifter and be able to verify the leak location.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  6. I have a lot of fluid streaming out of what appears as some type of cap or valve on the power steering pump itself. Should i replace the pump or try to rebuild it?

    1. Garrett-

      If you’ve pinpointed the leak as coming from the pump, replacing the power steering pump should solve the issue. Feel free to contact our technical support line at 888-863-0426 with any other questions.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  7. I have a power steering leak that only leaks after I switch the car off and then all of the fluid drains out (in drips). Do you know what is likely needing to be fixed?
    Thanks

  8. i have a leak in my power srearing back by my tire area looks like the where the cross member area is i havent taken it apart completly to see. its a 2007 ford focus se.

  9. I had to change my drive belt and belt tensioner due to it coming off. The tensiner was completely shot. I managed to replace today on road side luckily not far from home less than a mile. The car ran fine and there was brake hydrolics and steering was OK. Then the steering was normal then tight normal then tight then failed (no power steering) after 200 feet. Once I got home I looked at the belt and I could see it’s spinning but the only one of the parts of the pully not the actual pully/pump wheel itself. Then after switching car of I noticed alot of fluid loss. Looks slot because it’s raining. It stopped after an hour but I don’t know if it’s empty now or just stopped due to car not running. Looking awkwardly I can see fluid below the power steering pump/possibly near pipes heading to drivers side.

    Question is Could I have fitted the belt wrong and spun pump wrong way causing bad pressure/breakage. Or could it be because I was using the car with no steering power? Confused and cars almost certainly going to the car heaven if it’s going to be an expensive 500£ plus pump.

    Cars a Peugeot 307sw 2l HDI turbo 04 plate.

    1. Craig,

      thanks for your question about your Peugeot. It is very unlikely that you installed the belt in such a way that the power steering pump spun backward, especially since you had power assist for a short time. Our guess would be that when the belt came off it damaged a power steering line in the same area. Once you started your car again the system leaked out all the fluid which was why the steering got difficult. Our recommendation would be to find the leak and fix the problem then refill the system with power steering fluid.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  10. Power steering fluid runs out out of my car if turned on, but not when up on ramps..
    Only when level or on downhill slope..
    Would this indicate where leak might be coming from?

    1. Shirleen-

      Unfortunately, it would be difficult to say where the leak is coming from without being able to get underneath the vehicle. Often, power steering seals and lines are routed in very difficult to reach areas of your engine bay and can be covered by other components or even the sub frame of the vehicle. Based on your description, we recommend adding BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak to your power steering reservoir next time you top it off. BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak is a specially formulated stop leak additive that will revitalize the seals and hoses in your power steering system to seal your leak and restore your power steering system to normal operation.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

  11. Power steering fluid runs out of my 03 Kia optima v6 immediately after add some. I already replaced the pump and the steering is still hard to turn. I don’t know if I should replace the hose from pump or the tube from rack. Please help

    1. DJ-

      Thank you for asking about your Kia Optima. Did replacing the pump eliminate the loss of power steering fluid or slow it down at all? Please contact our technical support line at 888-863-0426 so that we can get a little better understanding of the vehicle’s condition and be able to make any appropriate recommendations.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

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