Power steering is a godsend for many drivers today. Without it, steering your vehicle will turn into the equivalent of a gym workout. The power steering pump is the heart of this system and any problems with this part could spell trouble for the power steering. Unfortunately, the pump will wear out and break in due time. If you start having trouble with your steering wheel then read on to learn about commons problems with the power steering pump and their causes.
The power steering pump is responsible for delivering the pressure needed to make it easier to move the steering wheel. If the component is unable to properly pump the hydraulic fluid, you will notice an increase in steering wheels stiffness and it will take you a lot of effort to move it. This is a sure sign that your pump is malfunctioning.
Check the fluid level of the Thunderbird's power steering fluid reservoir. If the fluid level frequently decreases and needs to be topped up regularly, that could mean a leak in one of the hoses or in the pump itself.
A visual inspection of the pump could give you an idea about its condition. If you see fluids leaking from the part, that could be a very bad sign. Leaks could mean that the o-rings or the gaskets are worn out; at worst, it could mean that the pump itself is broken or cracked.
A broken power steering pump will usually emit different loud noises like clicking, rattling and whining, depending on the problem affecting the pump. Some common problems that could cause such a racket include a broken pump vane, shaft or pump bearing, a blockage inside of the pumps or low fluid level.
When letting go of a steering wheel, it will usually shift into its center position. While a number of other problems could cause this, a defective power steering pump is a likely culprit as well.
Testing the Thunderbird's power steering pump with a pressure gauge could clearly indicate if there is any problem. A problematic power steering pump will usually give a reading that is not in line with the recommended power steering pressure of the vehicle.