Can You Drive A Car With A Bad Power Steering Pump?

For a perfect and smooth steering control, your car’s power steering pump must offer optimal function.

This post is meant to enlighten you on what is a power steering pump, how does it work, symptoms that indicate an impaired power steering pump, and when you should consider replacing it.

You may also get an answer to your query: can you drive a car with a bad steering pump. Yes, you can. But it comes with some challenges.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

What is a power steering pump?

What is a power steering pump
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With the innovation of power steering systems, it has become easier for drivers to enjoy a pleasing driving experience without fatigue.

Most vehicles use Vane power steering pumps for power steering systems. It is also interesting to learn that most power steering systems are still hydraulic rather than being electronic.

The heart of this system is its power steering pump that delivers the required fluid pressure to assist steering.

This additional force reduces the driver’s effort to turn the front wheels of the vehicle.

Just keep on reading to know how a power steering pump works for your car’s steering system.

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How does a power steering pump work?

A power steering pump is your car’s rotary vane pump that uses a belt and a pulley. The vane pump consists of retractable vanes that use power steering fluid at low pressure and then deliver it at high pressure to the steering rack.

Power steering pumps come in different styles. Some common types are discussed below:

Slipper Power Steering Pump:

It has a rotor that is located in an elliptical-shaped chamber. The rotor keeps on rotating within the pump’s body. The rotor has wide slots with slippers.

As soon as the fluid gets trapped between the rotor and pump, certain fluid pressure builds up, it afterward releases and drives your car’s power steering system.

Vane Power Steering Pump:

It is the most commonly used power steering pump. It has a rotor with vanes. When the fluid enters the pump, it immediately gets trapped inside it. Here the fluid pressure gets increased and gets transferred to the steering gear.

Roller type Power Steering Pump:

This type of pump has wide V-shaped grooves with steel rollers. They ride along the inside outer edge of the pump. Through creating a centrifugal force, the fluid gets trapped to maintain a high-pressure fluid. Then through two outlet chambers of the pump, it drives the power steering system smoothly.

Bear in mind that the failure of a power steering pump can lead you to face some serious problems. Hence, for smooth control over your driving, make it certain that your car’s power steering pump is properly functioning.

Some common signs that reflect a bad or failing power steering pumps are described below. So if you find any of these signs while driving, get your car inspected from a professional mechanic to resolve the problem.

You can see a video below

Video by Speedkar99

Symptoms of an impaired steering pump

1. Squealing sound upon startup

If you hear a squeal at every startup or sudden turns, it could be a possibility of having a bad power steering pump.

2. Groaning sound while turning

If you hear a groaning sound while turning your car steering wheel, you should be cautious. This type of sound implies that your power steering pump is running on low power steering fluid.

3. Slow responding steering wheel

Whenever you turn your car’s steering wheel, its front tires should immediately turn equally. But if it never happens and tires never turn likewise, it means that something is wrong with the power steering pump.

With a bad pump, there are likely more chances to get an accident because the car never responds as it should be. The situation can be aggravated if not addressed properly.

4. Inflexible steering wheel

Driving becomes a fun play when driving can turn the steering wheel without exerting too much force onto it. But if your power steering pump fails, your steering wheel becomes heavy and hard to turn.

That’s why for a smooth driving experience, your steering wheel should offer you maximum flexibility to turn it towards any direction you want to.

Driving a car with a bad power steering pump:

You can drive a car with a bad power steering pump. But it will not work in the long run.

A defunct power steering pump will make your car’s steering wheel stiff as well as you will have to put an extra amount of effort to turn the front wheels of your vehicle.

The primary goal of this unit is to make driving a less tiresome job. But if this unit gets bad or fails to work, all its performance comes to zero.

So, as soon as you notice the impairment of the power steering pump, it gets replaced immediately to avoid any other expenses.

Your professional mechanic will offer you his services to get the unit replaced.

The cost involved in replacing a power steering pump:

It is essential to replace a bad power steering pump as it causes serious safety concerns.

The average cost typically ranges to some hundred dollars according to your vehicle’s body, make, and model.

Do the job done by an expert auto mechanic so that you can have the best results.


The purpose of this post is to inform you that the power steering pump is one of the essential components of your car’s power steering system. Assist your car’s steering smoothly by having a good power steering system.

It also enables you to have the best control over your car’s power gear system.

You should never try to doctor it by yourself once you found that it is going to fail sooner. Always hire the services of the best and professional mechanic to fix the issues.

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