If your car makes a whining noise when you turn the steering wheel, watch this video to find out what’s causing it and how to fix it:
Steering Whine? What’s That Noise in Your Car, SUV or Truck
How can I troubleshoot and fix the whining noise I hear when turning?
Unusual car noises while turning can have different causes, but if your car is making a whining noise in particular, that means there’s probably a power steering issue, and that noise typically comes from the power steering pump.
Inspect your power steering reservoir, fluid, and fluid levels
If your power steering fluid is low, it can become aerated. When this occurs for an extended period of time, it can damage your power steering pump.
If you notice a whining noise and check your fluid right away and it looks like it should be topped off, adding more fluid should prevent steering pump damage, and the whining noise should stop.
Left unaddressed, power steering pump damage caused by low steering fluid usually means you’ll need to replace the steering pump.
Check for leaks
Before replacing your power steering pump, you should look underneath your car for power steering fluid leaks.
Safely raise your car and inspect the following parts and areas for signs of leaking fluid:
- Power steering hoses and all connections – when hoses are leaking, they generally need to be replaced.
- Power steering reservoir – may need a new o-ring seal, or an entire replacement reservoir if cracked.
- Power steering pump – Check the seal behind the pulley. If that seal is leaking, you’ll probably find fluid on the power steering belt. Power steering pumps are generally replaced when they begin leaking externally from this seal.
- Power steering box (if applicable) – can often be rebuilt, or replaced.
- Hydraulic brake booster (if applicable) – some can be rebuilt, but they are most often replaced entirely.
- Steering rack and associated seals (if applicable) – when leaking, often due to rust, they usually need to be replaced.
- Pressure line – often fails due to rust, and usually needs to be replaced entirely.
- Power steering cooler (if applicable – located in front of the radiator) – generally fails to do corrosion and needs to be replaced.
Whining noise just started?
In a case where the whining noise just started recently, you check your power steering fluid, find that it’s low, check for leaks and find one that you’re able to repair, top off your power steering fluid, your steering pump will probably be okay.
If the whining noise is left unaddressed for a while, you’ll need to fix any related leaks and replace the power steering pump.
Replacing Power Steering Pump
When replacing a power steering pump, or if you need to replace a power steering system line, you should flush out the entire system using the manufacturer-specified fluid.
You should also use the power steering fluid required for your vehicle when you’re topping it off. The vehicle our mechanic works on in the video above requires automatic transmission fluid.
Video: How to Replace Power Steering Pump
Shop parts featured in this article:
- Power Steering Pump
- Power Steering Hose
- Power Steering Pump Reservoir
- Power Steering Pump Pulley
- Steering and Suspension Kits