The power steering pump pulley is connected to the power steering system via one or two belts, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. The belt provides power to the power steering pump by turning the pulley. The power steering system works in an environment with high heat and friction, so various parts are bound to break and need to be replaced over time. If one part breaks, such as the belt, the pulley may need to be replaced as well. Watch for the following symptoms if you suspect a bad or failing power steering pump pulley.
1. Burning smell from engine
A burning smell from the engine means the belt is not tight enough or the power steering pump pulley has seized. When this happens, the belt can slip off or break from the drive train. This means the power steering pump pulley is not working correctly. A professional mechanic will need to diagnose the issue as to why the pulley is not working properly and causing the belt to slip. If needed, they can replace the power steering pump pulley to ensure it is working properly.
2. Choppy steering
Another sign your power steering pump pulley is not working properly is steering that is choppy or jumpy as you are driving down the road. This is caused by a slipping belt, which heats up the pulley system too much. The heat damages the seals and bearings in the power steering pump. As a result, the steering on your vehicle will not be as responsive or reliable as it was before.
3. Steering fails completely
If your vehicle will not steer at all, this is a serious problem that needs to be investigated by a mechanic. This can be caused by a variety of issues in the power steering system, such as the belt, idlers, tensioner, or the pump pulley. Only a professional should diagnose this problem so as to be sure all of the issues are properly taken care of, and your vehicle is safe to drive again.
If you notice a burning smell coming from your engine, choppy steering, or your steering fails altogether, have a mechanic service your vehicle immediately. Power steering is an important part of the safety of your vehicle, so any problems should be addressed as soon as the symptoms are noticed. YourMechanic makes getting repairs to your power steering pump pulley easy by coming to your home or office to diagnose or fix issues. You can book a service online 24/7. YourMechanic’s qualified technicians are also available for any questions that may arise.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Power Steering Pump Pulley and was authored by Spencer Clayton.