Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Long Does a Pitman Arm Shaft Seal Last?

Pitman Arm Shaft Seal

Your car’s Pitman arm is a crucial component of the steering system. It connects the gearbox to the steering linkage, and effectively translates the rotational movement of the steering wheel to lateral movement for the tires, which allows you to turn left and right.

While most of the Pitman arm is mechanical, it does connect to a hydraulic system, and the Pitman arm shaft seal is used to prevent power steering fluid from leaking (out of the gearbox). Like all other seals on your car, the Pitman arm shaft seal is subject to wear and tear. Because power steering fluid is highly corrosive, this seal may fail more quickly than others on the car. The seal also prevents dirt, dust and debris from entering the gearbox (there’s a dust cover that sits over the seal that aids in this).

There’s really no set lifespan for this seal. It should last for a long time, but it will likely not last the life of the vehicle. Even if you never drive the car, the seal is still in contact with power steering fluid, which will eventually cause it to fail (and the outside of the seal is subject to drying and cracking, with failure being a possibility when it becomes too brittle).

If the Pitman arm shaft seal fails, power steering fluid will leak out of the gearbox, and it’s possible that dirt and debris could contaminate the gearbox and cause serious damage. It’s important that the seal be inspected during normal maintenance to catch this issue before it becomes a critical problem.

Because there is no definitive lifespan or changing point for this seal, it’s important that you know a few signs and symptoms to watch for that could indicate the seal is about to fail. These include:

  • Low power steering fluid (which could indicate a leak anywhere in the system, including the Pitman arm shaft seal)
  • Power steering fluid on the driveway or parking lot surface near one of the two front wheels
  • Looseness in the steering due to significantly accelerated steering joint wear from power steering fluid leaks

If you notice a power steering fluid leak, or any of the other symptoms mentioned, it’s important to have the Pitman arm shaft seal replaced. A certified mechanic can diagnose and replace your car's pitman arm shaft seal.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.

ASK A QUESTION

More related articles

P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222 code means The manufacturer specifies a range of acceptable voltage to be produced from the throttle position...
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance Related Trouble Codes: P2158: Vehicle Speed Sensor B P2160: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Circuit Low P2161:...


Related questions

Q: Steering tilt not working

Hello. There are two motors for the steering column features in your 2005 BMW 745Li. It is possible that the motor for the tilt feature is faulty or that a fuse or relay has blown to prevent the power steering...

Q: Losing refrigerant through seal on compressor

If the seal on your compressor has started to leak refrigerant, the compressor must be replaced. If the air conditioning system is unable to store the correct amount of refrigerant in the system, it will not function properly. I would...

Q: Car turns on and off. The brake and the steering wheel gets harder.

Hello, thanks for writing in. The P0171 is an indication of a lean mixture, which can be caused by an air leak in the intake (as you were advised), a borderline engine temp sensor reporting a warmer engine temperature than...