I am the original owner of a 2002 Elantra GLS, with < 50K miles. She is in great shape. However, recently I have had a power steering problem that I can't entirely rule out the steering rack and I would like to have any insights on this problem before bringing it to a mechanic.

At start-up (in any weather) and until the engine warms a bit, the steering wheel AND the PS belt/pulleys bind and produce a shrieking noise when binding. This only happens when the car is NOT moving. If I (a) move the car when cold and turn the steering wheel all is fine and (b) if I wait for the car to warm up a bit, the steering does not bind, even in park. The binding occurs whether I am turning the steering wheel left or right. Otherwise, the power steering is as good as it was the day I took the car home from the dealer.

The fluid level is fine and;the quality of the fluid appears fine. The PS pump is 2 YO (rebuilt), as well as the belt. As to the belt, I am not certain of whether it is tight enough and I have had a couple of issues with belts before (noise) but never had any binding.

The fact that this problem goes away when the fluid warms up makes me think it is a steering rack issue but I am hardly an expert.

Any feedback would be very much appreciated!

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! How does the power steering fluid smell and look? I'm wondering if it's a bit thicker than it should be or if the wrong fluid was used in the first place. Jul 30 '18 at 21:38
  • It is Hyundai ATF (Hyundai doesn't market PS fluid; the dealers are told ATF is ok to use). The ATF appears to be in really good condition and maintains it's red color. Jul 30 '18 at 21:49
  • Most manufacturers actually use ATF as power steering fluid, so that doesn't surprise me. That's good it's in good shape. Jul 30 '18 at 22:47
  • I would suspect the belt is slipping under the additional "startup" load. As things warm up it may not cause as much load, less slippage, and no binding. I would REPLACE the belt and make sure it's tensioned properly. Even if it's just loose at this point, the slipping may have caused glazing of the belt surface which can't easily be cured.
    – SteveRacer
    Jul 31 '18 at 1:15
  • Great news: I changed out the belt and made sure it had good tension and all is well! SteveRacer, you were on the button. Thank you (and Paulster2) for your input...much appreciated. Aug 3 '18 at 14:01

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