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My 1997 Lexus ES300 has recently sprung a leak in the power steering system, and the mechanic who diagnosed it only said it could be in either the pump or the hose, and replacing both would be around $500.

Since I plan to replace the car soon, I'm just topping up the power steering fluid in the tank - it lasts for a week or so before steering gets stiff again. However, I would prefer to troubleshoot the actual issue; especially if its a hose problem that I might be able to fix as a non-mechanic.

Are there steps I can take to narrow down the leak location, or mitigate the leak itself?

  • Clean the area thoroughly, take it for a drive or if just running the engine is sufficient, then inspect to see where the fluid is appearing. – Solar Mike Aug 3 '17 at 8:38
  • fyi replacing the hose (s) is probably a bigger job than the pump. – agentp Aug 3 '17 at 11:59
  • It really does depend on where the leak is coming from. If the Mechanic said they were wanting to change out the pump and the hose, then to me there are either multiple issues (both are leaking), or it's the interface between the two parts. A lot of power steering units have a Teflon seal (small white o-ring) which goes between the two to allow for movement of the hose without a leak. This could actually be what's leaking in your case and should cost you less than $5 in parts to fix. You won't know until clean things up and actually figure out where the leak is coming from. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Aug 3 '17 at 12:49
  • You can get UV dye to put in the power steering fluid which will show you pretty quickly where the leak is; but if you're getting rid of the car, maybe even that is too much work and money. Look for some Lucas Power Steering Stop Leak; that swells the O rings and stops minor leaks. – PeteCon Aug 3 '17 at 14:48

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