Power Steering Only Works When Accelerating – What to Do?

One of our readers asked us: my power steering only works when accelerating; what could be the possible problem? This means power steering is not able to provide enough pressure. Read on to know more.

The power steering is hard to turn when the engine is idle, but it turns with ease when you accelerate to 2500 to 3000 rpm – familiar with this problem? You are in good company because this happens a lot.

The cause for this may be that the power steering pump cannot provide enough pressure to function properly when the engine is idle. 

The power steering pump may be applying a lot of pressure and forcing the fluid to pass into a smaller space through its rotating vanes. This further reduces the power steering’s ability to work efficiently.

In this article, let us further look at

  • Why is my power steering not working at low speed?
  • How do I know if my power steering pump is failing?
  • How Do You Prevent The Power Steering Problem In Your Car?
  • What causes intermittent power steering failure?
  • Why isn’t my power steering working after I replaced the pump?


Power Steering Only Works When Accelerating

Why Is My Power Steering Not Working At Low Speed?

When you ride your vehicle slower, it is much harder for the power steering to work. There could be three reasons for this problem: 

Let us look at what to do if the power steering is having issues.

How Do I Know If My Power Steering Pump Is Failing?

You may think that your power steering pump is working properly. But many times, the power steering pump fails to perform well. Let’s look at some symptoms of a bad steering pump.


Power Steering Only Works When Accelerating

Your Vehicle May Make Squeaking Sound While Turning

You may hear a squeaking sound while making a turn. This is an indication that there might be some leak in the pump. Or maybe the power steering fluid is less than it has to be.

All motorists want to avoid power steering noise. So to reduce the risk of your power steering noise, always make a check on your steering fluid level and fill it if needed. 

If the fluid is enough and your power steering is still making a noise, take it to the technician and get it checked and fixed.

Your Vehicle’s Steering Wheel is Hard

You may find it difficult to turn the steering wheel if your power steering pump is damaged. There may be a fault in your power steering pump, and your vehicle’s steering may be functioning slower than usual. 

To get it fixed, get it checked with a certified technician and fix or replace the parts as needed.


Power Steering Only Works When Accelerating

Your Vehicle’s Steering Wheel Operates Slowly

Make sure your car operates at its usual speed when you make a turn. If you find that the vehicle’s steering wheel is slower than usual, there may be some fault with the power steering. To fix this issue, you may need to replace the steering pump.

When You Start Your Vehicle, It May Makes A Squealing Noise

Sometimes, you may hear the squealing noise as you turn on your vehicle. You may even hear this noise while taking any sharp turns. 

This means there may be some fault with the power steering pump. To fix this issue, take your vehicle to a certified technician and get it resolved.

Your Vehicle May Make Whining Sounds

Sometimes your vehicle may make a loud sound which can be distracting. You will have to fix this issue immediately. This can occur due to some fault in your power steering or some other issue. 

To fix this issue, get your vehicle checked and find out why it is making such noises. Get it resolved right away.


Power Steering Only Works When Accelerating

How Do You Prevent The Power Steering Problem In Your Car? 

To prevent the power steering problem, make sure your vehicle has:

A Good Power Steering Pump

The most common cause of failure relating to the power steering pump has a bad bearing. After using your vehicle for quite a long time, the bearing wears out. 

These bearings, once worn out, start to make whining noises and may even cause leakage. So in such cases, you need to replace it with a good power steering pump.

A Good Engine Belt

The power steering in your car works directly with the engine. The engine’s belt moves from your engine’s shaft to the power steering pump. 

And if this belt breaks, it will cause your power steering not to work properly. You can replace it with a squeaking belt, and the problem is fixed.

Clean Power Steering Fluid

Many times, your power steering may have some leakage occurring. The leak may be due to the loose hose or some crack between the pump and the fluid. 

You may notice the pump whining and the power steering fluid getting frothy. To fix this issue, you will have to replace the hose and ensure the clamps are tight and do not leak.


Power Steering Only Works When Accelerating

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions

Why Isn’t My Power Steering Working After I Replaced The Pump?

Sometimes your power steering may not work even after replacing the pump. To solve this issue, make sure your power steering has enough fluid. 

If it still does not function properly, make sure the lines are properly connected and do not leak from anywhere. 

If you find everything fine, then maybe the high-side hose is blocked, or there is a bad seal in the rack.

What Causes Intermittent Power Steering Loss?

Sometimes the hydraulic fluid in your vehicle may become old, and no cooling or lubricating properties are left or even contaminated. This causes intermittent power steering loss. The pressure valves present inside the valves may become dirty and become clogged. 

It may not be able to create enough pressure to make a turn. You may notice the jerking of the power steering at low speed or making a sharp turn or while parking. To fix this issue, you may need to change the fluid.


Power Steering Only Works When Accelerating

If Your Power Steering Does Not Work At Slow Speeds, Check The Power Steering Pump.

The power steering may be hard to turn and may not work at idle. It can turn with ease at 2500 to 3000 rpm. 

You may have to replace your power steering pump if there is some fault or issue. You need to fix the issue immediately to avoid any other major issues.


Happy Driving!


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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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