Q: Drive belt loose and power steering not working.

asked by on December 18, 2016

When I was driving the other day I heard a loud pop under the hood. I then lost all power steering. At first I thought it was the power steering pump. But, upon closer inspection I noticed there was absolutely no tension on the drive belt. So, Could the power steering pump remove tension from the drive belt? Or with the drive belt loose the power steering pump can't run?

My car has 197000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Drive Belt Tensioner Replacement $134.81 - $601.33 Get a Quote

Hello, thank you for writing in. The vehicle’s drive belt is kept tight with an "auto-tensioner". This may be the pulley that has "popped" and released the tension. If that was the case, you would likely notice more issues than just the steering going out. The power steering pulley should still be inspected. If the vehicle runs, turn it on and watch the belt to see if anything is obviously wrong. Be careful, if the belt comes off or breaks it will fly off. The power steering pump pulley itself should not move. When the issue if found and corrected, make sure you replace the belt as well. Start by checking the auto-tensioner, and work your way to the power steering system.

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

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing


Experienced Mechanic?

Earn up to $70/hr

What others are asking

Charging system indicator light and electric power steering light on, car is a 2008 honda civics hybrid. What does this indicate?

The engine starting battery is very weak or bad and should be tested to see if the engine alternator is charging the battery or the battery is bad and needs replaced. The fact that the alternator light is on is...

no engine light or codes, no blue or white smoke from tailpipe but smells like burning rubber, esp. when idle. whats wrong?

You should have your exhaust checked to see if you have something like a plastic bag stuck to the exhaust burning and causing smell. If not then check the engine for oil leaks to see if valve cover or oil...

Truck is back-firing.

There are a few possible causes for an engine to backfire. Some of the more common causes are a vacuum leak, lean condition caused by a weak fuel pump, an exhaust manifold leak, or a faulty ignition system. With the...

Oil change intervals

I checked your vehicle maintenance schedule and it has a normal and a severe schedule. The normal schedule says to change the oil and filter every 7500 miles and the severe schedule says to change the oil and filter every...

My car steering wheel shakes when I apply brakes. How can I determine if it is the front or rear brake issue?

The rule of thumb is: if you feel it in the steering wheel and the steering shaking back and forth when braking, then the front rotors are warped. If you feel the vibration more in your seat he seat of...

Gas filler neck rejects fuel immediately.

Your fuel neck has a restriction in the hose. The filler neck has a big hose on the out side and a smaller hose on the inside. If someone tried to siphon gas from your truck they may have knocked...

Car stalls after reaching operating temp

Depends on if the engine is overheating or not. It would not stall on turns only, if it was overheating. It would stall a lot more often than that. You may have a problem with the EGR valve sticking open...

Car runs hot

On some of these engines, the idler, or tensioner pulley, tends to go bad and throws the belt. However, it could be that your belt just broke from age and wear, or another problem caused the belt to break or...

Car overheating from lack of coolant.

If your car doesn't have enough coolant it will overheat. When it cools back down, top it off with water and have a certified mechanic perform a coolant pressure test to see where the leak is coming from. Common failures...

Related articles

How Belt Tensioners Work
The The drive belt tensioner in your car is a small component that works in conjunction with the serpentine belt to ensure that everything in your engine works as it should. From time to time, the tensioner should be checked...
How to Replace a Power Steering Belt
Common signs of a failing power steering belt include a squealing noise and visible cracks, cuts, or nicks on the serpentine or drive belt.
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro
The The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro is an exciting car that says a lot about American drivers and what we want. While fuel prices are high and the economy is just barely starting to resurge and stabilize after years of recession,...