I've got a 2014 Toyota Corolla with a power steering system that doesn't kick in until 5-10 seconds after I've started the car. After sitting a few seconds, the power steering goes from nothing to fully operational, and I also feel the A/C blower crank up to full blast at the same time. Any ideas what's causing this sluggishness on startup?

Other data points - the problem just started on one of the first days over 95°F this summer. It got my attention when I initially couldn't start the car - I just heard the solenoid clicking with no attempt to turn over. After a few more tries, it started up but then I noticed the power steering problem.

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    Is it an electrical ps or fluid? If electrical start checking all cables and connections - if fluid check the level. – Solar Mike Jun 19 '18 at 5:25
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    Replace the battery and those issues will stop. – Moab Jun 19 '18 at 13:23
  • @Moab You were right, it was the battery. Want to make that comment an answer so I can accept it? – Doresoom Jun 22 '18 at 2:52
  • @SolarMike Thanks for asking that question - before this car I've only had older ones with fluid PS systems, and the fact that it might be electrical hadn't occurred to me. This morning when I started my windshield wipers in the rain, even they were acting sluggish. I had the battery checked at the auto parts store today and that was the issue. – Doresoom Jun 22 '18 at 2:56

Replace the battery and those issues will stop.

Reason? The bad battery is so discharged after starting the engine the alternator takes a few seconds to bring the system voltage high enough for some electronics to work properly.

  • The auto parts store performed a battery test and confirmed it was a bad battery. Replacing it fixed all the problems, including the power steering delay, the slow to start A/C fan, and the sluggish windshield wipers at start up. Thanks for the help! – Doresoom Jun 22 '18 at 20:39
  • Oh yeah newer cars have electric power steering systems... – rogerdpack Nov 28 '18 at 16:29

The same belt is possibly driving the power steering pump and the alternator. If the belt is slipping when you first start the engine, then the power steering will not work correctly and the alternator will not be providing power.

Friction on the slipping belt may then make it heat up and start to grip. The power steering would then start operating and the alternator start producing power. The increase in voltage when the alternator starts working would make the AC fans run faster.

You may need to re-tension the belt, or replace it.

If this car has an electric power steering pump, then alternator belt could still be slipping and would therefore not be able to supply enough power to the electric pump and the AC fans until the belt stared to grip.

Either way, I would check the belt before replacing the battery.

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    I'm pretty certain there is no power steering belt or pump in the 2014 Toyota Corolla having electrical power steering... This seems to be a battery issue. – juhist Jun 19 '18 at 17:51
  • @juhist it could still be a slipping alternator belt. Have you seen this same problem before? – HandyHowie Jun 19 '18 at 19:57
  • @HandyHowie then also mention that a slipping belt should be easy to diagnose because or the horrible screeching involved. The original question does notsay anything about that. – MadMarky Jun 20 '18 at 7:41
  • @MadMarky Slipping belts are not always accompanied by a screeching noise. – HandyHowie Jun 20 '18 at 7:59
  • I have indeed had a slipping power steering belt on a '89 Opel Vectra, and I can recognize the noise of a slipping belt. Although in theory the alternator belt could slip, you'd most probably know it from the noise. – juhist Jun 20 '18 at 13:46

For my 2000 toyota sienna (which has belt+fluid driven power steering) doing a complete fluid flush helped (turn the wheel back and forth 10x afterward to flush out air bubbles), FWIW...also probably worth making sure fluid isn't low first...

After that it's replace hoses, then replace pump, I guess.

ref: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090412100118AA3kc5m

  • hi roger - the OP already stated theirs is electrical, and they have an answer, which is that it was a battery issue - so your comment doesn't seem to fit here. – Rory Alsop Nov 30 '18 at 8:02
  • Yeah, googling for "toyota no power steering when starting" or something sent me here, so thought I'd just add the conversation even though it fixed "mine but not his" as it were, in case it was useful for followers...you know, make this the canonical resource for "no power steering when starting"... – rogerdpack Nov 30 '18 at 14:47
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    @rogerdpack Good point, reminds me of this relevant XKCD: xkcd.com/979 – Doresoom Jun 23 '19 at 21:15

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