You’ve started noticing a whining noise when you turn, a squealing when you start your car, and your steering feels different while you drive. You go to a repair shop, and they tell you it’s time to replace your power steering pump. How much should you expect to pay to get it replaced? What’s involved in the job?
What is Power Steering?
The power steering system assists in turning the steering wheel. Without it, you would have to work a lot harder to turn the wheel, especially at low speeds or when stopped. Power steering is something a lot of people probably take for granted. If you’ve ever hopped behind the wheel of an older car that doesn’t have it, you know what a difference power steering makes.
The power steering system is driven by a pump running off the engine. The fluid is pressurized by the pump, and directed by a valve into a chamber divided by a piston, located in the steering rack. One side of the piston receives more fluid depending on the direction the steering wheel is turned. The difference in pressure between the two sides allows the wheel to be turned with ease.
Manufacturers are now moving to electric power steering systems, which do not utilize a pump. Fuel economy improves without the pump sapping power from the engine.
With that said, many cars on the road today use hydraulic power steering, and the system will be prevalent for many years to come.
What Causes Power Steering Pump Failure?
There are a few reasons why a power steering pump can fail. Here are some of the more common ones:
Low Power Steering Fluid
The hydraulic fluid used by the power steering system also works to keep the pump lubricated and cool. If the pump operates with low fluid for extended periods, it can overheat or succumb to excess wear. The life of the pump will be shorter as a result.
A fluid leak is not a direct cause of failure, but if enough fluid leaks from the system, the pump will be operating with less than adequate lubrication.
The power steering pump runs off the engine via a belt. If the belt breaks, the pump will not have any power driving it, preventing it from working.
Dirty or Contaminated Power Steering Fluid
If the fluid in your power steering system is dirty or contaminated, it can contribute to premature power steering pump failure.
An old power steering pump can fail simply from years of use. High mileage cars still using the original pump can see an age-related failure occur.
How Much Does a Power Steering Pump Replacement Cost?
Now that you understand power steering and the function of the pump, we can start talking about the replacement itself. The cost of a repair is split into two categories: labor and parts.
When replacing a power steering pump, the parts involved generally include the pump itself, fresh power steering fluid, and in some cases new power steering lines. Lines can be reused if they are in good condition. However, replacing them at the same time will ensure you don’t have more problems down the road.
Power Steering Pump Cost
The price of a power steering pump varies significantly by vehicle. They can be as little as $100 or up to almost $1000 on the high end. Again, it depends on the vehicle. German cars typically have more expensive components, while Asian and domestic makes will be more affordable. For most passenger cars, the price of the pump will likely be in the $150 to $500 range.
Unfortunately, there is no exact price for labor either. On some vehicles, the pump is easily accessible and requires little disassembly to get to it. The time it takes the technician to replace the pump determines the labor cost. A readily accessible pump will cost far less to replace than one that requires a lot of wrenching to reach. At Becker Service Center, our labor rate is $138 an hour.
How much should I expect to pay?
While the price of this repair can vary, expect to pay between $500 and $800 to get your power steering pump replaced. Depending on your car, the cost could exceed that price, or fall below it. The best way to know for sure is to talk with the service advisors are your repair shop.
Power Steering Pump Replacement in Naperville, IL
Becker Service Center is your destination for power steering service in Naperville. Our team of technicians and friendly service advisors will provide you with the best service and competitive prices on this repair, getting you back on the road with functional power steering fast, the first time. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!