Power Steering Pump Noise

power steering pump noiseMaybe you’ve heard it at a stop light.  Maybe you’ve heard it as you pass a car on the freeway.  Or maybe you’ve heard it in the parking lot at work when someone is leaving.  The unmistakable whine of a power steering pump can make even the most confident mechanic wonder when that car will breakdown.

Power steering pump noise is a unique noise that your car may make and once you’ve heard it you always know what it is.  The noise is a mix of a whirring and a whining and will always vary with the speed of your engine whether your car is driving or in park.  This whining noise can be subtle or extremely loud and may be worse in colder weather, or right when you first start your car.

Power steering pumps are most often vain style centrifugal pumps that are tasked with pressurizing the power steering fluid and pushing it down to your power steering gear or rack.  As you turn your steering wheel it is this fluid pressure that aids in turning the wheels of your car.

There are a few reasons why you are hearing power steering pump noise from your car.  First, it may simply be due to the design of the pump.  Sometimes, noisy power steering pumps can continue to work flawlessly for years after they start making noise.  This may simply be due to the manufacture’s design or a tight tolerance in that particular pump.  In this case, you would hear the noise but not see any other adverse effect like a loss in power steering, leaking fluid or a wobbly pulley.  In this case, you may be able to help reduce your power steering pump noise by choosing a different type of power steering fluid, like a synthetic fluid.

Your power steering pump may also be making noises due to air trapped in the system.  If the pump impeller is trying to move power steering fluid and starts catching air bubbles it can cause whining noises and vibrations to occur.  Even tiny air bubbles you cannot see that are trapping in the power steering fluid may be causing the whining you are hearing.  In this case, the best thing to do is flush your power steering system to try and remove the air from the system.  Having air trapped in your power steering system can be difficult to diagnose so you may need to simply try a power steering flush to see if it solves your problem.

Power Steering pump noise may also be due to a failing power steering pump.  As the bearings on the impeller go bad it will start to make noise as the pump is turning.  If you have a bad power steering pump you usually will also experience leaks from around the pulley, a wobbly pulley, or difficulty turning the steering wheel when you are stopped.  If you have multiple of these symptoms together, it is probably time to replace your power steering pump.

power steering pump noiseLastly, and most usually, a whining power steering pump is an indication of a low fluid level.  Your power steering fluid is probably something you have rarely if ever checked, so it often comes as a surprise if the level is low.  Your power steering fluid reservoir is also relatively small so even a slow leak will cause a low fluid level relatively quickly.  To confirm this is your problem it is as simple as checking your power steering fluid level.  Some power steering reservoirs are clear so you can see through them to check how full they are.  You may have to wipe away some dirt and grime to find the “full” line, but it should be easy to check.  If you have an opaque power steering fluid reservoir there should be a small dipstick under the cap that will help you measure the fluid level.  If it is low, then you have a leak somewhere and topping off the fluid should quite down your power steering pump.

If you discover a power steering leak, rather than simply continuing to add fluid every time it gets low, you should fix the problem permanently so you don’t have to continue to check your power steering fluid level.  Replacing lines or seals can be a surprisingly difficult task due to the location of your power steering pump and steering gear or rack.  The easiest way to seal your leak is to do it from the inside out!

BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak

BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak will do just that.  BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak is specially designed to restore the seals and hoses in your power steering system to stop your leak permanently!  Pick up a bottle of BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak today!  You can purchase any of BlueDevil’s stop leak products at our partnering local auto parts stores like:

  • AutoZone
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • Bennett Auto Supply
  • CarQuest Auto parts
  • NAPA Auto Parts
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts
  • Pep Boys
  • Fast Track
  • Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
  • S&E Quick Lube Distributer
  • DYK Automotive

You can also purchase BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak directly from BlueDevil here: Power Steering Stop Leak

Pictures provided by:

power_steering_fluid.jpg – By Brian Snelson – Licensed by Creative Commons Share Alike 3.0 – Original Link
power_steering_system_leak.jpg – By Admin – Licensed by Creative Commons Share Alike 3.0 – Original Link

25 responses to “Power Steering Pump Noise

  1. Hi,
    I am facing all these with my car that almost 10 years old and run 195,000km how can I buy Blue devil this stop leak it?
    Regards
    Jerry

  2. Just went through a big whining pump replacement.
    First rebuilt pump was as noisy as a tractor – way too much end play.
    Second pump still whined until we took off the fluid reservoir and found a chunk of gook clogging up the small outlet. Cleaned that all out and now the pump works and sounds fine. The original pump probably would have kept going with a fluid flush but it had bearing noise anyway. Had to use a candle to clean the belt while it is running. Just push it into the grooves in the serpentine belt and all the noises from the old belt/pulleys relationship will stop. I can see some dirt in the lower pulley grooves using a flashlight in the dark so I will get a long skinny dinner candle to push down on the rotating pulleys to clean them up. Working great but could have kept going for $10 worth of fluid and a little common sense instead of rushing to buy two new pumps and pay the mobile mechanic for two seperate installs. I’m returning the first new pump online and hope to get some $ back.
    Good luck and keep your fluid flowing by taking off the reservoir and cleaning it.

  3. I think i may have the same problem…thefe is a whining\squealing sound that occurs when i’m driving straight, sound increases a little when i turn right, but stops when i turn left, or if i come to a complete stop. But the sound definetly comes from the front driver’s side.

    1. Heath,

      Thanks for your question. It sounds like you do have power steering problems. The first thing to do is to check your power steering fluid level. If you find its low, add BlueDevil Power Steer Stop Leak (available here: http://store.gobdp.com/power-steering-stop-leak-00232/) to seal the leak and get things back to normal. If you don’t have a leak, the whining could be an indication of a clog in your system which would require a flush to remove, or it could be an indication that your power steering pump is starting to fail.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  4. My car start to make that whining sound,it break the fanbelt wgen the pump. Fail to work.i replace the pump but the sound is now worse.please assist.

    1. Desmond,

      Thanks for your question. If you’ve replaced your power steering pump and the belt and you’re still getting a whining noise you may consider flushing your power steering system to try and remove any debris or contamination that entered your system when the pump failed. It sounds like you’ve got a clog somewhere causing a high pressure which would also cause the whining noise you’re hearing.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  5. Had power steering pump replaced on daughters car few weeks ago. New fluid added and was told it may take hundred miles to break it in but the noise is still there few hundred miles later. Something else connected with that which needs to be addressed?

    1. Jo,

      Thanks for your question about your daughter’s power steering pump. It can take some time for all the bubbles to be removed from the system, but a few hundred miles sounds excessive. Make sure you try turning the wheels fully lock to lock a few times with the engine idling to help remove trapped air. If that doesn’t do the trick, make sure all the hose clamps or fittings on the low pressure side are tight to ensure to air is being drawn into the system.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  6. My 2007 Toyota Camry 2.4L, CE has a noisy power steering pump while you driving. According to the Mechanic, I need to change the power steering pump. I bought a new power steering pump and replaced the old one. When I install the new pump, still the same noise. The mechanic say that I have a bad Power steering pressure hose line. I bought a new Pressure hose line. When he install it, we try to run the car. Still the same sound. The one we fine out is the fluid into the reservoir is not continous the circulation of the fluid and keep overflow while the engine is running. We checked the entire system if there is a leak but we can’t find it. I don’t know the next step now.

    1. Mark,

      Thanks for your question about your Camry. It sounds like you’ve either got a clog in your steering rack or an air leak in your low pressure line. Start by making sure all the fittings and clamps are tight all around the system to make sure no air is being sucked in. Then keep your power steering fluid topped off and turn you steering wheel all the way to one side, then the other and keep topping off the fluid to make sure all the air bubbles are out of your system.

      If that doesn’t quiet things down you probably have a clog in your steering rack. These sometimes can be cleared by flushing the system with fresh fluid, but if it’s bad enough, you may have to replace the whole steering rack.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  7. i can turn to left one finger but to the right two hands (2003 Bravada) if you help i would appreciate

    1. Gary-

      We recommend first checking the power steering fluid level. If it appears to be low then you should add 1/3 of a bottle of the BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak and refill the power steering reservoir to the full mark with the factory recommended power steering fluid. If it appears to be full then you may want to have the Bravada looked at at your local dealership or at a local shop.

      Thank You!

      -BDP

  8. On start up car makes a whining noise sounds like it’s coming from the power steering alternator belt it will stop after about 20 seconds as I turn the wheel it makes a loud squealing noises and went ahead and started turning the wheels and I get a whining noise at the very end of my turns all the way to the right or all the way to the left my Pooley actually tried to stop on the power steering pump does this mean my pump is bad or do I have a bad bearing any help is appreciated

    1. Ac,

      Thanks for your question about your Subaru Legacy. Based on the description of your problem it does sound like you’ve got a bad power steering pump. On your car, the pump is relatively accessible so you may consider changing it yourself if you have the time. You can verify the pump is going bad by removing the belt and spinning the pulley by hand. If there is significant resistance or the pulley feels wobbly or loose then its time for a new power steering pump.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  9. Just to make this a little clearer when the car is all the way on the ground it makes the noise as I just try to turn the wheels it’s pretty hard to turn when the car is parked I put the car up on jack stands and it didn’t make the noise until I got to the very end of my turns at that point the pulley on the power steering pump starts to try to stop

  10. I have Polo Playa 99 model. I have no leaks but the whinning noise. The sounds seems worste when I start the car. I can turn to both sides with 1 hand no problem with the power steering, just that irritating sound. Fluid is topped up. What to do next?

    1. Clinton,

      Thanks for your question about your 99 Polo. If you’re fluid is topped off, the next step would be to flush your power steering system. Old fluid can start to break down over time causing the sound your hear and clogs or debris in the system can change the pressures and also cause the power steering pump to whine. If a power steering fluid flush doesn’t fix your problem then the noise you’re hearing is probably an early indication that your power steering pump is starting to fail.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto pro

  11. Hi. I have a 2007 Ford Fiesta Automatic. I think that I am experiencing power steering bearing noise. Get a rattle mostly on start up/immediate drive away it seems to settle after a while. Noticed today that is seemed spongy on turning the wheel hard to the left but not right is ok. What do you think. Garage said it could be fan belt noise but it doesn’t look worn. They also topped up coolsnt twice in 4 months, putting a litre in on September service then more in on 18/12. Any ideas?

    Julia

    1. Julia,

      Thanks for your question about your Ford Fiesta. If any of the components powered by your fan belt have a bearing issue it can be difficult to identify which component is causing the problem while the engine is running. The fact that you’ve adding coolant twice in 4 months makes us wonder if it is possibly your water pump bearing that is going bad causing a small leak and the noise you’re hearing. If your power steering pump was going bad it would be difficult to turn you wheels in both directions so it seemed like that may simply indicate it’s time for a fluid flush.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  12. Replaced power steering pump and belt and steering is still stiff on my 2000 Toyota Camary. Going through rain it gets better and when dry is stiff. What could be the cause of this issue.

    1. Casey,

      Thanks for your question about your power steering system. It sounds like you may have a clog somewhere in your power steering rack causing a high pressure in the system and the stiff steering you’re talking about. These clogs can sometimes be removed with a power steering flush, but they can be stubborn. We’re having a hard time figuring out how going through the rain would loosen your steering, but it’s possible that you have an under-inflated tire or a bad tie rod end.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  13. I have a whining sound when turning. Also when backing up to park the wheel tightens up making it very difficult to park. Checked fluid and it’s full. I have 1999 jeep cherokee.

    1. Barry,

      Thanks for your question about your car. It sounds like you’ve got a bad power steering pump. If your fluid is full and clear then a whining noise often indicates that your power steering pump is going bad. You can check this by removing the belt and trying to turn the pump pulley by hand. If it is difficult to turn, then you’re in the market for a new power steering pump. If the pump pulley spins freely, the other possibility is that your steering gear is failing either due to wear or due to a clog in the system.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

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