A power steering pump is an electric or belt-driven pump that helps a car driver to turn the steering wheel without having to put a large amount of effort into it. Think of it as a water pump, with the exception that it uses steering fluid as opposed to water.
It keeps spinning, pressurizing the steering fluid in the process, which is sent to the rest of the steering system to assist the driver in steering the car. Its failure includes noises, leaks, and difficulty in steering, especially at low speeds.
The power steering pump is about the size of a coconut, and it’s usually located next to the car’s engine.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Power Steering Pump?
Let’s face it: there’s no fixed rate set by the law. So, it will be difficult to provide a precise number over here because the cost would vary a bit based on the labor cost set by the auto care shop. Of course, the cost of the car part will also influence the invoice amount.
As you might already know, different dealers have different profit mark-ups. Then, there is the make and model of your vehicle, which will also influence the power steering pump replacement cost.
Depending on the factors discussed above, you can expect an invoice of anywhere between $150 to $700.
|Mr. Tire||$305 – $700
|Walmart||$150 – $500
|Midas||$250 – $600
|Your Mechanic||$270 – $530
The quoted figure includes the cost of labor and the purchase cost of the new part. Keep in mind that the part itself is quite expensive. So, most of the invoice amount would go towards buying the replacement part.
When Should you Replace the Power Steering Pump?
Of course, the obvious answer is, ‘whenever it’s due for a change.’ But how do you know when it’s due for a change? Well, these symptoms will give you a clear indication of this matter.
- Noise: When the pump is low on fluid, or when some air gets trapped inside of it, you will hear whining or groaning noise when turning the vehicle. Keep in mind that simply adding more steering fluid won’t fix this issue.
You might have to replace the power steering pump to take care of the problem.
- Fluid Leaks: This is another condition where you will have no choice but to replace the power steering pump. The power steering pump itself might leak, or some connected parts may drip fluid, which can cause progressive damage to the rest of the steering system.
- Difficulty in Steering: The fact that a power steering pump assists in steering the vehicle, its failure is bound to cause you issues when steering the vehicle. You will notice that the steering action is not as smooth as before, which is usually due to blockages in the power steering pump.
How Long Do Power Steering Pump Usually Last?
Most power steering pumps have an expected lifespan of 100,000 miles. This isn’t to say that all power steering pumps will go the distance. In other words, premature failure of power steering pumps is not unheard of.
The lifespan of a power steering pump really depends on a car’s maintenance schedule.
If you have been on point with the car’s maintenance schedule and if the car is well driven, you can expect the power steering pump to last for 100,000 miles. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if it fails at 30,000 miles or even sooner than that.
Can you Drive with a Bad Power Steering Pump?
Frankly speaking, it’s a big “no” to drive with a bad power steering pump. Of course, you might be able to cover a lot of miles with a bad power steering pump. However, it’s not recommended to do so because it has the ability to cause progressive damage to other car parts.
Believe it or not; the pump can literally seize, leaving you stranded in the middle of a road trip. Worse yet, you might notice that your car is losing its braking power.
Driving beyond a certain point will also cause the car to overheat. Not to mention that a faulty steering pump will affect your ability to smoothly drive the vehicle.
You will have to put a serious amount of effort to simply steer the vehicle in the right direction, which can compromise your safety as well. Therefore, you should seek immediate replacement of a damaged power steering pump.
How to Replace the Power Steering Pump?
- To begin with, the vehicle will be parked at a safe ground. The mechanic will allow the car to cool down for an hour or two, which will make it safe for him to work on the car’s engine. As mentioned earlier, the power steering pump is located around the car’s engine.
- Once the engine cools down fully, he will remove the drive belt. To achieve this, he will have to remove the dash, panel, and other steering components, which will provide him clear access to the power steering pump. Once he gets access to the pump, he will remove the threaded connectors by loosening them up.
- Of course, any mounting brackets and bolts will also be loosened and removed to effectively get rid of the old pump. If the mechanic suspects any contamination in the power steering hoses, he will flush the system before fitting the new power steering pump. For flushing, he will use the fluid that’s recommended by the car manufacturer.
- The new power steering pump will be fitted in place of the old one. The pump will be tightened based on the car manufacturer’s guidelines. If you are performing this job yourself, you can refer to the vehicle manual to find out the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Finally, the mechanic will road-test the vehicle by taking it out of the garage for a short drive. If the steering effort seems normal and there are no leaks, then he should be good to deliver the car to you. From start to finish, the power steering pump replacement job should not take more than an hour.
Important Information for DIY persons: Before performing a repair, be well aware of the procedure, symptoms, and safety concerns. Always disconnect the batteries before performing a repair of this nature on your car. Wear all the safety gear to stay injury-free during the process. Obviously, you should also make sure that you are not compromising the vehicle’s well-being in the quest to save some money.
How to Save Money on Power Steering Pump Replacement Cost?
The key over here is to buy aftermarket/second-hand parts, which will, of course, help your wallet. That said, you should get a new part when you can easily afford it. Another thing that you can do is supply the parts yourself to the mechanic working on your car.
Of course, tell the mechanic before he starts working on your car so that he agrees to use the part that you will supply. Some mechanic, especially dealers, will insist on using the parts supplied by them.
If you don’t agree to their terms, they may not proceed with the repair work.
You can also choose to do the repair yourself, which will save you a good chunk of money. Obviously, the goal is to save money, but not at the expense of a bad job. So, consider attempting this job only if you have done similar work in the past.