My power steering fluid is foamy and more orange than red. There is a whining when I turn. It started 4 days ago. How long do I dare wait for an appointment to get it fixed? I will travel about 300 miles this week before I can get that appointment. Should I go elsewhere and not wait until Fri.? I understand it could be a hose, pump, or bearings.

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Oct 2 '18 at 13:04
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    Has the level been correctly checked? If there is a more serious issue then the power steering can fail - will you be able to retain safe control? – Solar Mike Oct 2 '18 at 13:07

When a power steering unit fails the steering of your vehicle will get very heavy, making driving long distances undesirable. It's very tiring steering a car with the power steering out, even if you're a body builder it's not a good idea, so driving with a known issue you'll need to accept the possibility of being stranded.

As for how likely it is to fail in the next few days it's impossible to say, it could fail in 10 miles or 1000 miles. You'll probably get away with it, but there's no guarantee of that.

The foaming comes from air being sucked into the system, from a leak in the hoses, pump or down on the rack. If the fluid is low then that will also cause it as it's sucking air.

If the reservoir is low then fill it up to the correct level, if the foaming and whining goes away then you're all right for a bit as it means you have a leak which is draining the system, but the pump is all right. It still needs to be addressed for sure, but it's less likely to fail on you.

If the reservoir is not low, or filling it up doesn't help then you've got a bigger problem as air is still getting sucked into the system, which is more urgent.

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