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Q: Having trouble with power steering

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I have a 97 Toyota 4Runner v6 3.4L I'm having a problem with my power steering system it's not humming or making any funny sounds but it is really hard and stiff to turn the wheel I've noticed if I give it anywhere from 1500 to 2000 RPM then will break free and loosen up quite a bit back to normal that's while I'm in neutral drive or park and I also check my power steering fluid Whitch is full I was thinking maybe a hose could be clogged or maybe a serpentine belt maybe need to be tightened or also just replacing the power steering pump I have no idea which direction to start first I would appreciate some help thanks

My car has 192000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

The only way to diagnose this 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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