4 Symptoms to Detect Air in Power Steering Of Your Vehicle

When unwanted air somehow gets access into your vehicle’s power steering, it gradually worsens your power steering performance and capability. 

As a result, your power steering turns bad and can make your driving experience miserable. 

However, you can easily prevent any major trouble caused by failed power steering, only if you know how to detect the air in power steering symptoms. 

In today’s article, I would like to address those common symptoms that help to detect when air gets in your power steering and cause troubles.

What Signs To Detect Air In Your Power Steering?

Whenever you encounter uncomfortable or struggle to control your steering operation, keep in mind that is the first hint of a possible error or issue on your power steering. 

Besides that, Unusual whining, grunting, moaning, or growling noises and difficulty in controlling the steering wheel while driving are the most common signs for detecting power steering failure.

4 Symptoms To Detect Air In Your Power Steering:

Along with the most obvious and commonly encountered signs, there are some other symptoms to warn when air gets in the vehicle’s power steering and causes various trouble.

So, let’s learn about those significant symptoms in detail – 

1. Unusual Noises, Stiff Or Hard Steering Performs & Bubbles In The Reservoir Fluid:

If air gets in your power steering, you will likely hear unusual whining sounds especially, while turning your vehicle’s wheel, and the wheel turns hard to turn on different gears. 

If you notice that your vehicle’s steering wheel has become stiff or hard, this most probably happened because of the power steering damaged condition due to trapped air inside it.

You may also notice that bubbles are appearing in the reservoir fluid or the reservoir fluid has turned foamy and low. 

If you pay close attention, you will hear a moaning sound whenever you turn the wheel left or right.

These are the obvious indications that something is wrong with your power steering system and more specifically, the air is in your power steering pump or system to cause the troubles.

2. Loss Of Power & Slow Respond:

Whenever you notice that all of a sudden, your vehicle steering has turned into manual steering, make sure to check on your power steering whether air is trapped in it or not. 

If air gets into your vehicle’s power steering, you will also notice a loss of power. Even when you turn it on at a low speed, you will hear a growling noise.

Another symptom is when you notice a slow response from your vehicle’s steering wheel while turning a corner. 

It also indicates that your power steering is failing and you may need to replace it.

3. Loss of Steering Fluid Or Steering Fluid Leak:

The power steering system’s working capability depends on the steady, high-level steering fluid. 

But if you notice a visible leak or feel that the fluid level is significantly low, better to inspect and confirm whether excessive air gets into the power steering and causing the failing and losing fluid issue.

To check the fluid level, read your provided user manual and follow the instruction.

4. Pulsation or vibration On The Steering Wheel:

When you encounter a vibrating or pulsating sensation coming from your vehicle’s steering wheel during idling, that can be a possible sign of power steering failing condition. 

You will notice the pulsation, especially during a particular turning point. 

These are the most common symptoms that will warn you whenever you have a failing fusible link.

What Should You Do After Detecting Air In Your Power Steering?

Whenever you detect that your vehicle’s power steering is failing because of unwanted air, just follow the below instructions-

Inspect Thoroughly To Confirm Air Existence In Power Steering:

After encountering any of the earlier signs or symptoms, first, you should check the steering fluid level and top off the steering fluid. 

Now, observe your power steering condition and if topping off calms down that unusual sound and your power steering returns to its usual operational condition, it means there is nothing else to worry about. 

But, if you can hear the sound and your power steering is still giving hard time, there is a high chance of leak existence and trapped air in your power steering.

Removing The Existing Power Steering Pump:

First, you need to disconnect your vehicle’s battery cables and power steering belt. 

Now, set the drain pan in its right position before removing the current power steering fluid. 

After removing the old fluid, take off the power steering pressure and replace hoses from the old power steering pump. 

Make sure nothing else is connected to the steering pump anymore. 

Next, use the recommended tools mentioned in the user manual of your vehicle and eliminate all the pulley and bolts. 

Now, your old power steering pump is free to take out so do that.

Installing The New Power Steering Pump:

First, set the new one into the bracket. Then, secure the new power steering pump by tightening all the connecting bolts and connectors. 

Remember to replace the old bolts or connectors, if necessary.

Next, use a pulley press to install the power steering pump pulley. 

Remember to start with screwing in the hub press within the bolt. 

After that, you need to grease the pump hub and its pulley. Then, replace the pulley on the hub and align the pulley. 

Next, attach the belts. After lining up the power steering pulley and press, adjust the pulley until it is in line with the crankshaft pulley. 

Now insert the air conditioning and Serpentine Belts. 

Make sure the air conditioning and belts are in line and clean up.

Flushing The Air Out:

Initially, for leaking issues on steering, you will need to replace the pressure hose or power steering pump. 

Then, you need to flush the unwanted air out. To do so first, you need to safely park your vehicle in a suitable place and set it on the level ground position.

Now, wait until the engine cools off. 

After that, open the hood to check the steering fluid level in the reservoir and if required, add some fluid so that it can turn into Full Cold level.

However, while choosing the steering fluid, remember to cross-check with your vehicle’s user or repairing manual to confirm that you only follow your vehicle’s manufacturer’s recommendation.

Now use a floor jack to raise the wheels off the ground and secure your vehicle with a pair of jack stands.

Next, turn on the engine and slowly turn the steering wheel left to right and right to left at least ten times. 

While doing that, remember not to hit the stops or locks, it will prevent seal damage and force air out of the system through the reservoir.

Better to have an assistant during this flushing air task so that he/she can monitor the steering fluid level when you are flushing the air out of the system.

Make sure that the reservoir does not turn empty during this particular process and if necessary, add fluid again to maintain the flow.

You will need to repeat this engine starting and left to right turning steps until the steering fluid level becomes steady and stable enough. 

When your steering wheel seems back to its usual level and you cannot see any bubbles or hear any noises, shut down the engine. Your task is done.

Is Replacing The Power steering Pump Typically Expensive?

Approximately you have to pay $400 up to $700 if you take your vehicle to the servicing shop to replace the power steering pump. 

But if you replace the power steering pump all by yourself, you have to pay just $150 up to $250.

Remember, the costing can vary because of the labor cost and parts price based on your vehicle’s model.

How Often Should You Check Or Service Your Vehicle’s Power Steering Pump?

The exact number of miles that a power steering pump serves can vary depending on which vehicle model or version you are driving and also the driving conditions. 

But you can at least expect a new power steering pump to last 100,000 miles of operation.

Final Thoughts

Although the air in power steering will not prevent you from driving your vehicle instantly and you can still drive your vehicle, it will definitely make your driving experience unpleasant and exhausting.

Therefore, better to know the signs and symptoms that indicate when air gets in your power steering and you need to fix it.

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