Power steering is one of those things that you do not appreciate enough until you notice it is gone.
If your steering has suddenly become heavy, the chances are that your power steering pump has gone bad.
A new power steering pump typically costs between $300 to $800. However, this price can differ significantly depending on the make and where you buy the steering pump.
Regarding the total power steering pump replacement cost, the labor rate must be accounted for.
The time it takes to replace a power steering pump can be from one to four hours, depending on the car model, available tools, and the experience of the individual replacing it.
This guide will touch upon everything you need to know about replacing a power steering pump and things you should consider before replacing or repairing one.
Let’s get started!
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Diagnosing A Bad Steering Pump
Before you opt to replace the power steering pump, you should ensure that the steering pump is the culprit.
While heavy steering makes most people put their suspicion on the power steering pump, and rightfully so, there may be other culprits or a simpler way to fix the problem than replacing it.
For example, the problem may be due to a component closely related to the steering pump, such as the O-rings.
There are several O-rings in the power steering system. Give a closer look at the O-ring at the suction hose. Also, check the hose for leaks as it may be the culprit.
There is also an O-ring in the pump itself, but that would take time to check, so you should leave that for last.
Other essential components of the steering system include the pump pulley, the rotary valve, rack and pinion, and tire rod.
Most of these potential causes can be ruled out by a visual inspection, either by checking the part or noticing any leaks below the car that may indicate a bad rotary valve or hose.
If you have ruled out those causes and still have heavy steering, the steering pump is probably the cause.
Bad Steering Pump Symptoms
Heavy steering is the most common symptom of a bad steering pump. However, many of the components listed previously may also cause heavy steering.
If there is a noise when turning the wheel, it indicates that something may be wrong with the steering pump; if the steering otherwise feels normal, there may be several potential causes.
A sign of a bad steering pump, or rather a faulty power steering system, is the lack of fluid in the power steering tank and/or a small puddle of steering fluid under the car.
Power Steering Fix Cost
Fixing the power steering is essential, even when there is a minor cause for the lack of power steering, such as a leaky house, bad suction hose, O-ring problem, or alike.
This is important to prevent further damage and, consequently, higher costs.
It may also be possible to fix the power steering pump as a component in the pump may have gone bad. For example, this may be the pump’s O-ring or a seal for the bearing.
If the problem is in the suction hose or the related O-ring, the fix may be as cheap as $10 if you do the job by yourself.
A mechanic would be able to change it within an hour or two, but it can take a long time, depending on the car model in question.
If the problem lies inside the power steering pump, more work may be done and more expensive parts to be replaced.
Some power steering pumps have bearings that are easy to replace, while others are not; if you are unsure about doing it yourself, get your pump to a professional shop that can replace the bearing.
You should suspect a bad bearing if you hear an idling noise as the belt moves the bearing.
Replacing the O-ring, suction/return hose is relatively cheap. You can get a compatible O-ring for a few dollars, while a suction hose can cost $15 – $30. Both parts are relatively easy to install.
Bearings are a bit more expensive and can take some time to replace with specialized tools. Therefore, the repair bill may be a bit more expensive.
If you have the tools available, the cost should be less than $50 for the bearing. However, a shop would charge for the labor (and indirectly the tools), which may bump the price over $150.
The high-pressure hose is a more sophisticated component that must endure high pressure and temperature. Because of that, they are more expensive, closer to $100 plus labor.
Replacing the high-pressure hose usually takes longer to replace, depending on the car model.
For most cars, it takes about 1-2 hours, while other models have high-pressure hoses that are hard to reach, demanding more time.
Replacing The Power Steering Pump
Replacing the power steering pump is often the best thing to do as the pump cannot be repaired, or there is no economic advantage to repairing it.
The car model is a significant factor in terms of cost as it will dictate the cost of the pump, but also the complexity and access of replacing it.
To put a number on the price, a power steering pump usually costs around $300 to $800.
When it comes to labor, it should take around one hour for most car models. However, this number can be higher in some models, up to four hours of work.
A bad power steering pump usually presents with stiff steering, sometimes accompanied by a noise.
If you suspect your power steering pump is bad, the problem may lie in a component related to the steering pump or part of the pump itself.
If this is the case, you may save money by replacing the related part or repairing the steering pump.
The cost may vary significantly between repairing and replacing any component related to the power steering system.
In many cases, a cost analysis would be the soundest option; to help you out, you may see all the viable options in this article.
When replacing any type of component, the price significantly differs between car models.
The steering pump will cost about $300 to $800. To that, you should also consider the time it takes to replace the pump, which varies between 1 hour to 4 hours.
The O-ring at the return hose can often be a problem, which is quite an easy fix for less than $10 if you do it yourself.
It does not take much time to replace it, making it a relatively cheap option even if you let a professional do it; the same applies to the return hose.
Other components are more expensive and may take longer to replace, resulting in a much more costly repair bill.
Therefore, always ensure that the problem is correctly diagnosed and, check if there are any leaks in the system, go through all the related components, and of course, the pump.