Q: 2003 Chrysler pt cruiser's steering wheel is extremely hard to turn. Checked fluid and it was good. What should i do?

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I have a 2003 Chrysler pt cruiser and every now and again my steering wheel is incredibly hard to turn. I use to be able to just shut it off and give it a minute and it would be fine, but that wont work anymore. I've checked my power steering fluid and its fine. I dont know if it's the pressure pump or the belt since I'm not skilled enough to check them. Is there any other solutions besides those?

Possibilities include low pump output, a poorly drive pump due to a faulty drive belt, a binding rack and pinion unit, restrictions in the pressure lines, and binding in the steering linkages. The only way to diagnose the pump is to use an external pressure gauge to measure pump pressure at around 1,000 RPM at which point you will see line pressures in the neighborhood of 1,000 PSI. Please note though that the exact specifications (pressure versus RPM) depend on your vehicle’s Factory Service Manual. There is no other way to determine if the fault is pump output related versus in the rack and pinion unit versus hoses. Of course, double check belt tension just in case the issue is a poorly driven pump. Also, you should check the idle-up function for power steering. If that sensor system is not functioning, it could cause an issue such as the one you are describing. If you want these steps performed by a certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, please request a power steering diagnostic and the responding certified mechanic will get this resolved for you. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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