Q: Q: Power steering

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About 4 weeks ago, suddenly, I noticed that when parking or turning a tight corner the steering wheel was very hard to turn. Same for backing out of a parking spot. No problems while driving. Oddly, today it wasn't tight or difficult. Any ideas?

My car has 83500 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

This may be related to a failing power steering pump or low power steering fluid levels. As you may know, the power steering system uses a pump, normally driven by a belt. The pump supplies pressure as it is turned by your engine, and driver control is supplied by either the rack and pinion or a steering gear box. Fluid pressure from the pump is used to push against a piston. When the wheel is turned, pressure flows to one side and this piston moves. The piston is attached to the steering gears. As the hydraulic pressure does the work, the driver controls the direction by turning the steering wheel. The operation of this is accomplished with a very sensitive valve system called a rack and pinion. When the pump is beginning to fail or is low on fluid, you may hear this type of whining sound. I would recommend having a professional from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your power steering system.

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