How to Diagnose a Failing Power Steering Pump

It’s pretty common for a power steering pump to fail when a car gets older. Typically, enough power steering fluid leaks out to cause damage to the pump. It’s a good idea to be aware of the signs of a failing power steering pump and how to diagnose the issue before it gets really bad.

Symptoms to Look Out For

Broken steer pump

Image Credit: Fixbook

The symptoms don’t start manifesting themselves until the power steering pump is well on its way to total failure. That’s why we strongly suggest checking out your power steering pump as soon as your steering wheel starts acting strange. Symptoms include:

  • A whining or groaning noise when turned.
  • A stiff feeling when turned, especially when the car is stopped or going slowly.
  • A red or reddish-brown puddle underneath your car (which is an indicator of a fluid leak coming from the pump).
  • A squealing noise when the car starts up (which is the belt slipping as a result of the pump not performing correctly).

Diagnosing Power Steering Pump Failure in 5 Steps

First, you want to rule out a couple of potential issues:

  1. Low power steering fluid: If your power system has developed a leak, your fluid level may have dropped so much that the pump won't work correctly. If you find that your power steering fluid is too low, you should immediately add more fluid. Then you should inspect the pump and power steering hoses for signs of leakage.
  2. A cracked or loose serpentine or V belt: The belt is responsible for powering the pump. When it’s loose or cracked, then the pump isn’t getting as much power as it should. Visually inspect the belt for cracks and check for slippage and decreased tension.

If the steering fluid reservoir is full and the belt is still in good shape, then the problem may lie within your power steering pump. To officially confirm the issue, you need to check the pump pressure with a pressure gauge:

  1. Install the pressure gauge.
  2. Make sure the shutoff valve is in its full open position and the reservoir is filled with enough clean fluid.
  3. Start and idle the engine.
  4. Turn the steering wheel in both directions a few times to release any air bubbles and to warm up the fluid.
  5. Close the shutoff valve for a couple of seconds while watching the gauge reading. (Do NOT keep it shut for more than 5 seconds!) If it’s not within Honda’s specifications, which should be in your owner’s manual, then your power steering pump is weak and it needs to be replaced.

Finding the Right Replacement Power Steering Pump For Your Honda

Honda Steer pump

If it turns out that your power steering pump is on the brink of death, it needs to be replaced right away. Neglecting the issue will eventually result in complete failure of your power steering pump. If it fails, you may no longer be able to steer the car without a lot of effort.

You can replace your power steering pump at home with basic tools and a couple hours of your time. A lift would be helpful, but it’s not necessary. Before starting the project, you’ll need a new OEM power steering pump assembly. It’s quite easy to find one. You just have to do a search on your Honda here to find the exact part that serves as a direct replacement.

Here’s a list of quick links to our top selling power steering pump assemblies:

Please contact us if you have any questions or if you need assistance finding the right OEM power steering pump assembly for your Honda.