The power-steering pump is the main element of the power-assisted steering system. Driven by a belt, the pump forces the power-steering fluid into the steering rack. If it fails, it may leak fuel or become seized altogether. A malfunctioning pump produces a characteristic wailing sound when you turn the wheels.
What is the role of the power steering pump?
The power assisted steering system allows the driver to decrease the power needed to overcome the resistance of wheels during turning. This hydraulic system is equipped with a pump powered by a drive belt connected to the engine. The pump uses pressure to push the hydraulic fluid into the steering gear, where a set of valves senses the wheel movement and lets the pressurized fluid inside the gear, facilitating the movement of the toothed bar attached to the tie rods.
How is the power steering pump changed?
You can tell a power steering pump malfunction by leaks or seizure. A malfunctioning pump produces a characteristic wailing sound. Changing the pump requires sucking the power steering fluid out of the expansion tank, disconnecting the pressure hoses and removing the drive belt. Finally, the pump may be disconnected from the engine block. A new pump is fitted in the reverse order. When fitting a new pump, one should always remember to refill the power steering system with a fresh hydraulic fluid. The air is removed from the system automatically. One should only remember to refill the fluid to the right level.
What to keep in mind
Changing the pump is also a perfect opportunity to check the condition of the drive belt and the power steering hoses. The replacement procedure should be followed by a test drive to check the system for any leaks and to ensure that it operates properly.