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This morning my 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe started screaming and the wheel locked up. I turned the car off then back on, and it was fine. Drove it home and parked it, and when I drove it again, the wheel was hard to turn, but there was no noise at all.

I had someone put some power steering fluid in it, and it leaked straight out on the ground after starting, but the wheel got easier to turn. Don't know if it's a pressure hose pump or rack and pinion. There are air bubbles in the reservoir where you pour the fluid in.

What should my next step be?

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  • I remember my power steering pump dying some time after my car ate a deer. "Screaming" is exactly the word for the sound that it made!
    – Bob Cross
    Commented Aug 16, 2014 at 21:29

3 Answers 3

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The screeching and fluid on the ground you have described is typical of a large system leak on your power steering. You will need to have a mechanic/repair shop look at your system. Do not drive the vehicle, firstly because of the safety implications and secondly because driving the vehicle will extend any damage that may have been caused.

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I agree with Allen Osborne, I had this happen to my Suburban, the line on the back of the pump loosened up and started pouring fluid out. Get a mechanic to check it out.

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Air bubbles in any flowing system is created by air being drawn in. Fluid in motion causes suction and a pin hole in a hose may be enough. Many cars get this from steering ram seal leaks not clearly visible unless you check closely the boots. Keep in mind the hose in question may simply look slightly oily on the surface or even when closely examined find tiny cracks in the outer skin. A teacher once told me a phrase worth remembering. "Air can enter where water can't exit" so a leak can be in the tiniest of spots and we must consider even a rubbed spot on a hose a potential culprit.

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