Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Power steering stiff when cold

asked by on

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.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

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

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Power steering not working

Hello, since you know the fluid level is full and I assume that the belt is attached to the pump, it sounds like your power steering pump has no output and probably needs to be replaced. I would have a...

Q: What part do I need replaced?

Hi there. If the wheel is showing signs of "falling off", do not operate until it has been repaired. This is a safety hazard and needs serious attention. Wheel bearings can become worn to the point where the hub will...

Q: Navigation screen went black

It sounds like two separate problems. Check your fuses for the radio and navigation. If it is the unit itself that is faulty, there are specialized places that will repair them, or you could replace it with a good used...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...