Q: Power steering stiff when cold

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On cold days, my power steering is extremely stiff if the engine is cold. On top of this, it feels like the steering wheel is jolting trough a cold turn. However, this stops after completing a turn all the way to the left and to the right and after the engine has warmed up completely. Referring back to the jolting of the steering wheel, you can hear the belt squeak on each jolt as it's being turned. There's no issue after the engine has warmed up and made a couple turns on the steering wheel. Would this be a sign of a bad power steering pump? I notice a jolting steering wheel when going slow trough a puddle of water and water gets on the belt system.

My car has 161859 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hello. This can be a sign of a bad pump, but most of the time it is caused by contaminated fluid. If the fluid is old or has any moisture in it then this will occur. I usually flush out the power steering fluid first. I also check the belt. Once it has new fluid and if the belt is fine, then I double check the symptoms. If it continues, then I replace the pump. If you need to have this done, consider YourMechanic, as a certified mechanic can come to your home or office to diagnose the steering and move forward with the proper repairs.

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