Power Steering Pump Pulley Buyer’s Guide
- The power steering pump pulley is a crucial power steering component that allows you to turn your vehicle’s wheels with ease.
- A choppy steering, burning smell coming from the engine, and steering that doesn’t work at all are signs that your power steering pump pulley is faulty.
- V-belt pulley and serpentine pulley are two types of power steering pump pulley. The former is mostly used in older cars while the latter is often found in modern cars.
- Factors to consider when looking for the ideal replacement power steering pump pulley are material, diameter, and fit.
- Removing your old power steering pump pulley and installing a replacement can be easily done on your own especially if you have tools like the power steering pump pulley puller and installer.
- Depending on your vehicle’s year, make, and model, you can buy a replacement power steering pump pulley for a price that falls anywhere between $15 and $160.
There are a lot of mechanisms or systems installed in your vehicle that help make your life easier. One example is the power steering system, which allows the driver to turn the vehicle with ease. However, since the power steering system is belt-driven and composed of a few moving parts, it can fail due to worn-out components like the power steering pump pulley.
What is the power steering pump pulley?
Driven by a belt or two depending on your vehicle’s year, make, and model, the power steering pump pulley is the component that helps provide power to the power steering pump. It is one of the parts that works the hardest whenever you turn your wheels via the steering wheel. Since it is a crucial power steering component, the power steering pump pulley can also badly affect the performance of your power steering when it’s faulty.
Symptoms of a bad power steering pump pulley
All of the components of the power steering system are often subjected to extreme heat and constant friction. That’s why parts like the power steering pump pulley are bound to fail over time—which is bad news especially if you drive on a daily basis. Fortunately, you can tell that you have a faulty power steering pump pulley through the following symptoms.
Burning smell from the engine
A strange burning smell coming from your engine is one of the symptoms of a failing power steering pump pulley. Once you notice this, you need to replace the faulty component immediately because it can lead to bigger problems such as the belt slipping off from the drivetrain.
Choppy or jumpy steering
A problematic power steering pump pulley can also result in a jumpy or choppy steering. This usually happens when the pulley belt keeps slipping off, causing the pulley to generate too much heat. Excessive heat can damage the power steering pump bearings and seals, and this can lead to unreliable and unresponsive steering. This problem can easily jeopardize your safety on the road, so it needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
Steering wheel fails
If you can’t turn your vehicle using your steering wheel, you need to have your power steering system checked. It can be caused by a faulty power steering pump pulley or other components like the belts, tensioner, and idlers. Once you have determined the failing part, it’s best to have it replaced to bring your steering system back to good condition.
Types of power steering pump pulley
Often used in older cars, this v-shaped pulley has dual slots that allow it to use multiple belts to drive different parts including the power steering pump. Once a belt fails, you can easily slip a new one to the vacant slot in the pulley and connect it to the part that it’s supposed to drive.
In a serpentine pulley, it uses one long belt to drive multiple components, creating a snake-like pattern. This system is seen more in newer cars, and it has better grip and traction than v-belts and pulleys. This means that power is efficiently transferred from the pulley to the parts that are driven by the serpentine belt.
Things to consider when looking for a replacement power steering pump pulley
Since the power steering pump pulley can make or break your vehicle’s power steering system, picking a replacement part should be done with utmost care. Here are some things to consider when looking for an aftermarket power steering pump pulley:
A power steering pump pulley is regularly exposed to excessive heat and friction. If you want your replacement part to last, make sure that it’s made from durable materials. Aftermarket power steering pump pulleys can be made from several materials such as steel, metal, plastic, phenolic, and composite. Carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each material before making a decision.
The diameter or size of the power steering pump pulley also matters when looking for a replacement. If the pulley is too small, it may not have the surface area required for your belt and may cause belt slippage when under stress. It may also spin the pump too fast, causing the fluid to foam. This can also produce a squealing noise when it gets too hot. If the power steering pump pulley is too large, you might find the “power steering” lacking at idle since it is not turning too fast.
One of things that you should always consider when looking for a replacement part is fit. If you don’t want to buy a product that is not compatible with your vehicle’s specifications, make sure that the unit you are planning to purchase is made as an OE replacement for your factory-issued component.
Can you replace the power steering pump pulley on your own?
Changing the power steering pump pulley in your vehicle is a relatively easy job if you have enough DIY auto repair knowledge. You just have to remove a couple of parts, such as the belt and power steering pump reservoir, before you can access the pulley. To make the power steering pump pulley removal easier, what you need is a special tool: a power steering pump pulley puller and installer. Uninstalling your stock power steering pump pulley and installing a new one can be a breeze with the help of this tool. Make sure to have it with you before making any plans of replacing your stock power steering pump pulley on your own. If you’re not qualified to replace the power steering pump pulley by yourself, it’s best to take your vehicle to an auto mechanic.
How much is a power steering pulley?
Our replacement power steering pump pulleys on CarParts.com are available in various materials, types, diameters, and color and finish. Depending on these factors as well as the brand, you can purchase one unit for a price that falls anywhere between $15 and $160.
If you want to make sure that you’ll get the right part for your vehicle, remember to use our built-in vehicle selector. Just plug in your vehicle’s year, make, and model to narrow down the search results to the compatible parts.
V or Serpentine: New Power Steering Pump Pulley
The power steering pump is one of the parts powered by a car's pulley system. It can be fitted with either a V-belt style pulley, serpentine style pulley, or a combination of the two. Picking one type over another has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Read this guide to give you an introduction on both types.
V-belts pulleys are named as such because of its v-shape. It looks like a walled-pulley that perfectly carries the belt. This style of pulley is generally used on old cars ? usually on those made before the 80s. The system works by using multiple sets of belts to drive individual parts, like the power steering pump. That's why you see pulleys with dual slots for a 2nd belt powering another device.
- Advantages: V-belts are inexpensive. In terms of maintenance, if one belt or pulley fails, it is easy to pinpoint the problem because only one device fails. Installation is quite easy at it only requires you to slip the belt to connect two devices.
- Disadvantage: This type does not last long compared to serpentine systems. Other problems include less grip and power. Also, it may be a little difficult to notice a failed belt or pulley unless you are totally aware of your car's mechanics.
Its snake-like routing in the engine gives it its serpentine name. Pulleys in this system use only one long belt to drive all devices. Almost all cars recently made have this setup on its engines.
- Advantages: This system has a clean and simple look compared to v-belt systems. It's also tougher and more durable. In terms of performance, serpentine belts and pulleys have better grip and traction compared to v-belts. This makes serpentine systems give devices more power efficiently.
- Disadvantages: The setup may require modifications in the pulley's rotations because of its snake-like movement. During belt failures, expect the whole system to give because everything is dependent on one belt. In terms of installation, the tricky part involves correct and accurate routing of the belt to work properly.
It is possible to modify your car's existing system to another. To be safe, we recommend that you stick to the existing system used by your engine. If you want, do a balancing act of combining the two systems to get the best results.
Easy DIY Guide: Power Steering Pump Pulley Replacement
When turning the wheel tends to be a little harder than usual, something must be wrong with your car's power steering. Since this is a belt-driven device, one part you can look at is the power steering pump pulley. Overtime, it can be bent or wobbly making it inefficient in bringing power. Replace the pulley at once to ensure that you get the most out of the power steering.
Difficulty level: Easy
- Socket set
- Wrench set
- Power steering pump pulley remover and installer tool
- Replacement power steering pump pulley
Step 1: To start the repair, park your car on a properly lit area. Disconnect the battery's terminals and set aside.
Step 2: Locate the power steering pump at one of the engine's sides. Below it is the belt tensioner pulley. Note the route of the belt prior to removal to help you later during reinstallation. Turn its bolt to give the drive belt some slack. Pull the belt off the power steering pump pulley.
Step 3: Use a wrench to loosen the bolts holding the power steering pump in place. There are usually three bolts for this. Keep these bolts in a safe place for later use.
Step 4: Disconnect the pump's reservoir from the body. There are a couple of metal clips that you need to dislodge with the help of a screwdriver.
Step 5: Grab the part with the pulley attached to it. Take the pulley off the pump with a pulley remover tool. To use this, insert the tool's shaft into the pulley's hole. Wrap the split collar and retaining ring around the tool's nut. Use a wrench on the collar to hold the tool while you turn the top with a socket wrench to drive the tool's shaft in.
Step 6: Discard the old pulley and install the replacement with the help of the pulley installer tool. Slide the pump's shaft into the pulley's hole. Next, thread the installer tool in the shaft. Use a wrench to drive the installer tool as tight as it will go. Once you are done, extract the installer tool from the assembly.
Step 7: Reconnect the power steering pump body and reservoir. Return the assembly to the engine and secure it with the three bolts removed earlier.
Step 8: Reroute the drive belt in the way it was originally routed at the start of the repair. Retighten the belt tensioner pulley until you match the tension you had at the beginning. Finish the job by reconnecting the battery.