What Happens When Power Steering Pump Goes Out?

If you are suddenly unable to steer your car, it is an issue with the power steering. Read on to know what happens when power steering pump goes out, and what you need to do in this situation.

If you are driving at high speed, you may suddenly experience the power steering pump in your vehicle going out. 

If the power steering pump of your car goes out, you’ll not get steering assist while driving, and you might start to panic because you won’t be able to control the car properly. The steering wheel in your car will exert more resistance, and you’ll have to exert more pressure to try and steer the vehicle. 

Zero steering assist is the main thing that happens when your power steering pump stops working, and while it may not harm the car per se it is irritating and sometimes can be dangerous as well. We will discuss the potential causes of this problem further in the article. 


What Happens When Power Steering Pump Goes Out


Understanding Power Steering Failure

Your power steering pump can fail for many reasons, and it also depends on whether your vehicle is using a hydraulic, electric, or hydro-electric power steering system. 

How will I come to know?

Sometimes, you might start to feel the power steering become noisy. This could happen if something in the power steering pump is loose or there is some external factor in the system. 

What will happen if power steering fails?

You will get no steering assist once your power steering pump fails. Power steering is crucial for directing some of the bigger cars as they offer a lot of resistance without power steering. If you are moving at high speed when the power steering stops working, you are also at risk of crashing. 

The Power Steering Pulley Stops When Turning, What Should I Do?

The power steering pulley stops when turning if there is an issue with the power steering pump. Some malfunction in the power steering pump might be causing the pulley to lock up and not move. 


You might like to read: What Causes A Power Steering Pulley To Break


What To Do When A Power Steering Pump Goes Out? 

In some cases, the power steering will die on you immediately, and in some cases, the power steering pump will go out gradually. The latter case will catch the driver by surprise. In the first case, the driver is slightly prepared as they can feel the power steering assist gradually weaker. 

Turn On Your Hazard Lights

You should signal the other drivers with you about your situation by turning your hazard lights on. With this, you’ll let other drivers know that something is wrong with your vehicle, and they’ll pass your car carefully. Some people might even stop to help you out. 


Vibration In Steering Wheel When Turning Right


Try To Slowly Move The Car Towards The Kerb

You should try to direct or steer your car to the shoulder of the road. You’ll need to observe the coming traffic on the road and control the vehicle away from it. 

Without the power steering assist, you will need to exert more pressure to steer the car. Remember to not rush without the power steering assist, as you may not be able to counter-steer immediately if another vehicle appears. 

Bring It to A Stop

You should gradually slow down the car until it stops. Remember to brake lightly while you are driving and then eventually park the car on the shoulder of the road. 


You might like to read: Power Steering Hard To Turn When Cold: 6 Reasons


What Causes Power Steering To Not Work At Idle?

There can be plenty of culprits for a power steering not to work at idle. The primary reason or culprit for it is a failure of the power steering pump. Some other reasons that might contribute to this situation are

No power steering fluid

If your vehicle doesn’t have any power steering fluid, then the power steering will not work even when you keep it idle. Usually, there is a leak in the system somewhere for the power steering fluid to not be in the pump. 

You’ll have to identify and patch that leakage. You can also check the valves, hoses, and hydraulic pumps to ensure no more leakage. 

Faulty or damaged hydraulic pump

Damage to the hydraulic pump can also stop the power steering from working. Less power steering fluid in the vehicle can also damage the hydraulic pump. You can identify damage on your hydraulic pump as it will start making noises. 

As the damage to the hydraulic pump gets older, you’ll experience the steering assist being weaker. Once the pump stops working, you’ll get zero steering assist. 


Car Stalls When Turning Steering Wheel


Broken serpentine belt

The hydraulic pump with the engine works or spins because of a serpentine belt. A crankshaft pulley then drives this belt. If this belt breaks or snaps, the hydraulic pump will stop working, and you will get no steering assist. The pump will not be able to receive the supply of power steering fluid. 

Older electric parts

If the electric components in your vehicle are old and worn out, they can also make the hydraulic pump faulty. Power steering systems have a torque sensor, electric motor, and other components. 

If any of these components have a short circuit or their fuse is not working, the entire system will shut down. 


You might like to read: Power Steering Gets Stiff When Hot – What Does it Mean?


Frequently Asked Questions.

#1. Can you still drive a car with a bad power steering pump?

Yes, but you will have to make a lot more effort to steer the car.

Yes, you can still drive your car if you have a bad power steering pump. But it is ideal that you only drive your car for a short distance so that you can either reach your home or a garage where you can get your car checked properly. You will have to drive your car throughout this period without a steering assist. 

#2. How much does it cost to replace a power steering pump?

The amount of money you require to replace a power steering pump will lie somewhere between $500 to $700 on average. 

But there are also labor costs associated with replacing a power steering pump as it is a part you cannot replace in a vehicle. The average labor cost for replacing a power steering pump lies between $150 to $190. The above amount does not include taxes and other fees. 


Power Steering Hard To Turn When Cold


A Few Final Words

Usually, the loss of the power steering pump means that you will not get any steering assist while driving your vehicle. You will suddenly experience an increase in the resistance offered by your steering wheel. 

This is a dangerous situation for a person that doesn’t know how to drive without a steering assist or is driving a heavier vehicle. If you are driving, you should slow down, put on your hazard lights and bring the car to a stop at the shoulder.

You’ll need to properly assess and identify the main cause for the power steering pump going out. As always, thank you for reading and drive safe!

Wondering what is Service Variable Effort Steering? We have you covered in this article.

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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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