What is the Power Steering Pump Pulley all about?
Like many other systems on your vehicle, your power steering operates on pressurized fluid, and the power for pressurizing that fluid is delivered by the engine. Depending on the year, make and model, your car may have a single drive belt, or two belts. In both situations, a belt will operate the power steering pump via a pulley. The belt runs around the pulley, and spins it while the engine operates. When the engine is off, the pulley remains still and the pump does not work.
As with any other pulley in the engine, the power steering pump pulley relies on a bearing to ensure that it operates correctly. Heat and friction will wear the bearings out and they will eventually need to be replaced. There are other instances that could cause problems with the power steering pump pulley, including serious auto accidents that bend or even break the pulley.
Keep in mind:
- Power steering pump pulley and belt operation should be checked at regular maintenance (oil changes).
- Bearing failure is the most common power steering pump pulley problem.
- A broken belt can cause your power steering system to malfunction.
- The belt can brake if bearings seize.
How it's done:
- The hood is opened and the serpentine belt is removed
- The power steering pulley is removed with a pulley puller
- The new power steering pulley is installed using a pulley installer
- The serpentine belt is installed and pulley alignment is checked
- The engine is run and the power steering system operation is checked
Without an operational power steering pump pulley, your entire power steering system will be inoperable. The most common cause of problems here is wear and tear to the pulley bearing. The pulley will need to be removed, the old bearing pulled out, and a new bearing installed. Because of the importance of this system, we recommend having any power steering system problems be diagnosed by one of our expert mechanics.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Power Steering Pump Pulley?
- Whining or grinding sound while engine is running
- Power steering pump pulley is locked (won’t turn)
- Power steering or serpentine belt is broken (possibly a sign of bearing failure)
How important is this service?
Some power steering systems aren’t as critical as others, but this one plays an important role in the drivability of your vehicle. If you notice any of the symptoms above, or suspect there’s a problem with the pulley or the bearing, you should have the system inspected immediately.