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Summary
  • Some tips on how to replace your power steering pump include preparing the necessary tools before starting, using a line wrench, and checking the power steering hoses for leaks.
  • There are several types of power steering pumps, such as the rotary vane, roller, and slipper.
  • You can expect to spend anywhere from $40 to $1430 for a power steering pump replacement and around $300 for labor fees.

Just because you can drive with a faulty power steering pump doesn’t mean you should. Power steering pump failure is a big red flag you should never ignore. It can make steering your vehicle hard, which puts you at greater risk of getting into an accident. As soon as you notice an issue with it, you should avoid driving until you replace your power steering pump.

Tips on How To Replace the Power Steering Pump

Power steering pump replacement can be an intimidating task, but it doesn’t have to be rocket science. Here are some tips to make things easier:

Identifying Power Steering Issues

Before you can replace your power steering pump, it’s best to be 100% sure that it’s actually the issue. Luckily, power steering pump failure is typically easy to spot. A loss of power assist, leaks from the power steering hoses, and cracks in the pump’s body all point to a faulty pump.

, A Beginner’s Guide to Power Steering Pump Replacement

Pro Tips are nuggets of information direct from ASE-certified automobile technicians working with CarParts.com, which may include unique, personal insights based on their years of experience working in the automotive industry. These can help you make more informed decisions about your car.

Pro Tip: If the pump is full of fluid but making no noise and there is no power assist, the pump is typically faulty. If the pump is noisy and whining but full of fluid, the screen in the reservoir may be clogged. All reservoirs have a screen but you can’t see it unless you empty the reservoir.

Power steering issues won’t always be that obvious, and some signs like unusual whining noises can point to other problems, too. Some belts will make whining noises, as will some other components and pulleys that may have bad bearings, so if you’re not feeling anything odd about the steering while turning, don’t replace the power steering pump before ruling everything else out first. If you’re not 100% sure, consider asking a mechanic for help.

Preparing the Necessary Tools

You’ll save yourself a lot of time by preparing everything you need before you start. Depending on the condition of your vehicle, you’ll likely need all or most of these tools:

You’ll be dealing with a lot of power steering fluid, so be sure to wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Preparing a few towels can also make your clean-up a lot easier.

Taking Safety Precautions

You can never be too safe when repairing your vehicle by yourself. Before you replace the steering pump, consider letting the engine cool first.

Note, however, that power steering fluid won’t be hot enough to burn you unless extreme steering maneuvers have been done right before you opened the hood. Usually by the time you get the belt off, the fluid will be cool. It’s not under pressure like the coolant, so there isn’t much danger of getting burned by power steering fluid.

Using a Line Wrench

As much as possible, avoid using pliers or an open end wrench to remove the fittings from your steering pump. Both of these tools can damage the nuts and make it hard for you to apply the correct torque. Consider using a line wrench instead. It’s great for nuts made of soft metal, so you’re less likely to damage them in the process.

crow foot line wrench
You might need a crow foot line wrench (see photo) if the line is difficult to access (and frequently they are). | Image Source: Richard McCuistian

Replacing the Power Steering Hose

line wrench image
If your power steering pump is faulty, then you might need a power steering hose replacement. Leaks from a cracked or crimped high-pressure hose can cause power steering fluid levels to drop, which can lead to power steering failure. A line wrench (see photo) or a crow foot as shown earlier will be needed. | Image Source: Richard McCuistian

Before you pack up your toolbox, consider checking on your power steering hoses first. Try starting your engine and (with eye protection) watch while an assistant turns the steering wheel. If there’s a line leaking you’ll usually see fluid on the ground or in the engine compartment, but watching while an assistant turns the wheels will help you find the leak.

low fluid due to leak
If there is a leak, the fluid will be low. | Image Source: Richard McCuistian
ford hard teflon seal
Ford power steering lines, when disconnected from the pump, will need the teflon seal replaced on the fitting. These seals are very tough and must be threaded onto the fitting to the spot where they fit. | Image Source: Richard McCuistian

If there’s a line leaking you’ll usually see fluid on the ground or in the engine compartment, but watching while an assistant turns the wheels will help you find the leak.

– Richard McCuistian, ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician

Installing a Power Steering Filter

A power steering filter can help prevent premature failure, so you might want to consider installing one for your vehicle. You can find universal filters that’ll fit most vehicles, or you can check if your manufacturer offers one that’s specific to your vehicle.

Note, however, that a power steering filter is mostly for belt-and-suspenders DIY folks. Most vehicles won’t have any filter except the one in the bottom of the reservoir, which is a screen.

Replacing the Power Steering Pump

Depending on your vehicle’s year, make, and model, you might have to remove some parts first to access the pump. Of course, you’ll also need to remove the belt. On some vehicles, you can just dive right in and drain the power steering system. If you aren’t sure where to begin, consider asking a mechanic for advice.

Typically, the most challenging part of the job is removing and reinstalling the power steering pump pulley. Sometimes it must be removed before you can even unbolt the power steering pump. You can rent a special tool to remove and reinstall the pulley.

diagram shows a cross section of what the pulley and pump shaft look like
This diagram shows a cross section of what the pulley and pump shaft look like. This is a very tight press fit, so be ready for that. | Image Source: Richard McCuistian

Some pulleys can be very difficult to remove, so be ready for this, too. You may encounter serious issues removing the pulley. Usually it comes off easily with the tool, but sometimes it’s very difficult.

replacing the pump removing and reinstalling the pulley
Removing and reinstalling the pulley is typically the most challenging part of replacing the pump. Always apply grease to the threads. | Image Source: Richard McCuistian

Burping the Power Steering System

You might have to burp the power steering system to make sure you correctly replaced the pump. Burping the power steering system means making sure there’s no more air left after you drain the system. This typically involves slowly turning the steering wheel left and right until there’s no more air left in the system.

What Is a Power Steering Pump?

rotary vane power steering pump
Rotary vane power steering pump | Image Source: Richard McCuistian

You can think of the power steering pump as the heart of your vehicle’s power steering system. There are several types of power steering pumps, such as the rotary vane, roller, and slipper. While they differ in design, they all serve the same function in helping the driver steer the vehicle.

How Does the Power Steering System Work?

The power steering pump has a large pulley because the torque applied to the pump is more important than the speed at which it is driven. It produces hydraulic pressure that is directed through a spool valve when you turn the wheel to help turn the wheels during steering maneuvers, particularly during slow driving when a lot of steering is necessary.

The fluid reservoir is either built onto the pump or mounted remotely. There is a flow control valve at the pump outlet. The pump produces up to 1500 psi when steering assist is required. There is a return line (low pressure) that carries the fluid back to the reservoir from the steering gear or rack.

Power Steering Pump Replacement Cost

The cost to replace your power steering pump varies depending on several factors, including your vehicle’s year, make, and model. For the most part, however, you can expect to spend anywhere from $40 to $1430 for the pump itself and around $300 for labor fees.

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Technical Reviewer at CarParts.com

Richard McCuistian has worked for nearly 50 years in the automotive field as a professional technician, an instructor, and a freelance automotive writer for Motor Age, ACtion magazine, Power Stroke Registry, and others. Richard is ASE certified for more than 30 years in 10 categories, including L1 Advanced Engine Performance and Light Vehicle Diesel.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

File Under : Suspension , DIY Tagged With :
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