Power steering makes it significantly easier to turn your steering wheel. Without it, the effort it takes to do simple maneuvers such as pull into a parking spot or turn a corner increases. The slower your speed or the heavier your auto, the more difficult a manual steering wheel is to move.
On the other hand, with a hydraulic system, a power steering pump circulates pressurized fluid to the wheel to assist with steering. This pump is powered by the car’s engine. Most drivers consider power assisted steering an essential system on any car.
Signs of a Failing Power Steering Pump
A pump experiences wear and tear over time. It’s important to detect the signs that your pump may need replacing before you have a complete failure in your power steering system, because a sudden loss of performance can result in danger for you or your passengers.
Since dirt and debris can get into the system, it’s important to have your power steering fluid flushed every 30,000 miles or so. At other times, making sure your fluid is topped off can extend the life of the pump.
With proper maintenance, a pump may last for 100,000 miles or more. This means that your older but very dependable car — such as your trusty 2007 Accord — may need a replacement even if you’ve followed upkeep guidelines carefully. Here are some signs that it’s time to shop for a new 2007 Honda Accord power steering pump:
- The steering wheel is stiff or difficult to turn, especially at slower speeds.
- You hear a whining or squealing noise when you turn the steering wheel. This could also mean your power steering fluid is low.
- Your car doesn’t immediately respond when you turn the wheel. If there’s a delay, it could point to problems with your pump.
How Does the Rim of the Car Affect Power Steering?
Even with power steering, your car can become harder to steer if you have bigger or wider rims and choose to go with a much wider tire than your car’s standard. This may put stress on the power steering system, and the increase in resistance can damage the rims themselves.
You likely won’t notice a difference if you want just a slightly wider tire, but remember that most pumps are rated for factory standards so more extreme wheel options can impact steering.
This holds true for ultralight rims and tires as well. For example, equipping your Chevrolet with carbon fiber rims and ultralight tires may result in a 90-degree turn with the slightest turn of the steering wheel. For smooth handling, it’s best to choose a 2011 Chevy Malibu rim appropriate for the car.
When it comes to purchasing a power steering pump or other replacement parts for your car, it’s important to shop smart. Stop by your local auto supply store and speak with a knowledgeable salesperson or make use of customer service via e-mail or chat when shopping online. When you do make a warranty-backed purchase, you’ll be glad you did.