How Long Does a Power Steering Pump Pulley Last?

In a hydraulic power steering system, which is what the vast majority of cars on the road today use, fluid must be pumped through a series of lines and hoses to the steering rack. That is done by the power steering pump – without it, there’s no way to move fluid, or provide power steering assist.

The power steering pump is located on the side of the engine near the power steering fluid reservoir. It is turned by the serpentine belt that also supplies power to other engine accessories, including the alternator, A/C compressor and more.

Your car’s power steering pump operates at all times if the engine is running, but it is put under an additional load when you turn the steering wheel (when it forces high-pressure fluid into the lines to the rack in order to provide the steering assist you need). There is no real lifespan for these pumps and in theory, yours could last the life of the car with the right maintenance. With that being said, they generally don’t last longer than 100,000 miles and pump failures at lower mileage aren’t uncommon.

Other problems that can be confused with power steering pump failure include a stretched, worn or broken serpentine belt, low power steering fluid and damaged/seized pulley bearings (the pulley that operates the power steering pump).

If the pump fails, your entire power steering system will be disabled. This isn’t as dire as it might sound, as long as you’re prepared for it. You will still be able to steer the car. It will just require more effort to turn the wheel, particularly at lower speeds. Of course, that’s not something you really want to experience, particularly if the pump fails and catches you unaware. Therefore, it makes sense to know a few signs and symptoms to watch for that might indicate your pump is on the verge of failing. These include the following:

  • Whining from the pump when turning the steering wheel (it may be more pronounced at lower speeds or higher speeds)
  • Knocking from the pump
  • Grinding or groaning from the pump
  • A noticeable lack of power steering assist when turning the steering wheel

If any of these symptoms are present, it’s important to have your pump checked and replaced if necessary. A certified mechanic can help inspect your power steering system, and replace or repair the power steering pump pulley if needed.


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Chris

16 years of experience
419 reviews
Chris
16 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Power Steering Pump Pulley - South San Francisco, California
Chris does not rest until the job is done right
Cadillac SRX - Power Steering Pump Pulley - Burlingame, California
Very knowledgeable and gets the job done

Joseph

18 years of experience
40 reviews
Joseph
18 years of experience
Toyota 4Runner V6-3.0L - Power Steering Pump Pulley - Olympia, Washington
My truck is like my child and I don't trust anyone really to be left alone with it whether it's under the hood or driving down the road, but with Joe's perfectionism and knowledge and patience with me as a customer that I would trust to handle anything to do with my 4runner without hesitation. He is very respectful, considerate, and very clean as a mechanic. He managed to not get any fluids anywhere and picked up anything and everything he had essentially created while working on my truck and did the job right the first time. He's a super good mechanic and I would definitely use his services as my go to for future fixes and maintenance. I'm 110% satisfied and thankful to have met him for my services.

Dominic

28 years of experience
223 reviews
Dominic
28 years of experience
Dodge Grand Caravan V6-3.3L - Power Steering Pump Pulley - Bonita Springs, Florida
Best mechanic I have had the pleasure of working on my car. He is very efficient and professional with his work. If you want good work done and done correctly I would definitely request him

Christopher

10 years of experience
114 reviews
Christopher
10 years of experience
BMW 330xi L6-3.0L - Power Steering Pump Pulley - Houston, Texas
Chris finally got my car up and running after 2 failed attempts. Having to work over someone’s work is a hard task but Chris got the job done

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