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If the power steering pump on my vehicle has a slow leak, what are the implications? Is it a safety hazard? Will it cause the failure, catastrophic or other wise of itself or other parts?

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If there is no fluid in the power steering rack then you can see the following symptoms.

  • Sound of metal on metal contact on turning.
  • Rough steering.
  • Heavy steering

Implications: There is no immediate threat to the car if your fluid is leaking , it will not do any harm to the car but it will cause massive wear on the steering rack as a whole.

However Driving without adequate fluid levels will definitely destroy your pump.

Other issues: In some cars the leak from the fluid might go inside other components and indirectly resulting in failure(though not common depends on make of the car)

Solution:

Fix the leak if possible. If not, check if the leak is slow , if its not massive leak then you can top up the fluid intermittently whenever you find time , this not permanent solution, can work if you want to travel long distances and you are in need of cash.

Caution: If your fluid levels are low then do not hold in full lock on either side of the steering as it puts massive pressure on the pump( basically dont hold it after turning full left or right for long)

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    I might add to your caution: You should never hold your wheel at full lock. This is called cramping the steering and is very bad for the powered portion of your steering components. This is whether or not your fluid is low ... just don't do it. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 14 '15 at 11:25
  • Are the issues the same if it's the pinion / power steering gear that's leaking? If I'm understanding correctly, as long as the leak is slow and you keep the fluid properly topped off, there isn't much of an issue? – Robert S. Barnes Jul 14 '15 at 11:50
  • @RobertS.Barnes Correct, but i would advice fixing it since just in case your pump goes kaput, it will cost too much to fix , at least in my country.(unless you are low on cash , you can use the top up method for like 8 months one of my friends did the same on his Honda City.) – Shobin P Jul 14 '15 at 11:53
  • So there are no immediate dangers? Could I keep topping it off indefinitely? I'm asking because the seller of the car is obligated to fix anything that would prevent the car from passing inspection, and they claim this doesn't really need to be fixed, just washed to get past inspection. – Robert S. Barnes Jul 14 '15 at 11:59
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    I'm the one buying the car and it's the other side that is obligated to fix anything that would not let it pass inspection. It would not pass inspection if they saw this leek. – Robert S. Barnes Jul 14 '15 at 12:19

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