why does my power steering whine when its cold

Power steering pump noise is one of the most identifiable sounds your car can make when it is broken. There can be a lot of clunks, squeaks or hums that can indicate a wide variety of other problems, but a whining power steering pump us usually very distinctive. Even if you werent previously aware of what a power steering pump is, once youve had the misfortune of dealing with a noisy power steering pump, the sound will no longer be a mystery. In some rare cases transmissions have been known to make whining sounds also as they have similar pumps and use similar fluids, but since your transmission is much bigger and on the other side of your engine, it is usually pretty easy to tell where the sound is coming from by simply popping your hood and listening for the sound at idle. How to fix power steering pump noise In order to figure out how to fix your power steering pump noise, it can be helpful to understand why your power steering pump gets noisy in the first place. P The unique noise your power steering pump makes when something is wrong is due to its specific design. P Your power steering pump is required to take the rotary motion of your engines crankshaft and convert it into high pressure fluid that can be used to assist you in turning the heavy wheels of your car. P Your power steering pump does this by attaching a belt and pulley to a rotary vane pump. P A rotary vane pump is actually designed more like a fan than a typical pump. P Inside the pump housing is a rotor with vanes or blades attached to it. P When spinning, these vanes throw the power steering fluid into the outlet hose on the pump creating the high pressure needed for the system.

It is the special design of the vane and rotor that creates the unique whine you hear when your power steering isnt operating correctly. P The whine is usually created by a problem with the power steering fluid that the pump is trying to move. P The problem can be something as simple as worn out fluid that has lost its additives or physical properties and doesnt pump well to small air bubbles in the power steering fluid that foam and cause the vanes to vibrate and whine. If you have power steering pump noise then you most likely have one of these problems. P If youve kept up with regular maintenance on your car including changing your power steering fluid as recommended, then the whine is most likely due to air bubbles in your system. P Air can get in your power steering system from a few different sources. P First, you could have air bubbles in your power steering fluid due to a loose low pressure hose. P Since your pump is drawing fluid into the rotor and vanes from the return reservoir at a vacuum, air can also be pulled in if there are any loose hose connections. P This air can be enough to cause the fluid to foam and your pump to whine. Other causes of power steering pump noise Another possible source of air being introduced into your power steering pump is actually by a lack of power steering fluid. P If there is a lack of fluid in your power steering system the fluid reservoir will get low. P Your power steering pump draws fluid in from that reservoir and if there is a low fluid level it can also draw air in along with it causing the same bubbles and whining sound.

P This problem is easy to identify because you will be able to see the low fluid level in your power steering fluid reservoir. If you have discovered a low level in your power steering fluid reservoir then you have a leak somewhere in your system as that would be the only way power steering fluid could escape. PThe seals in your power steering system are either very difficult or impossible to replace due to their location or how they are fitted into your steering rack. P Instead of replacing an entirely good power steering rack because of one leaky seal, use BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak to revive your old seals and stop your leak. P BlueDevil Power Steering Stop leak is easy to use and is guaranteed to seal your power steering leak so you dont have a low power steering fluid level again! For more information about BlueDevil Power Steering Stop Leak, visit our product information page here:
power_Steering_pump. jpg By Huad262 Licensed By ThinkStock Whining or squealing noises from your power steering system are common problems in cold weather. P What causes this? P Is your power steering simply fed up with the bad weather? P I know I do a lot of whining and squealing through January and February. P Actually, though, these noises can indicate problems with your power steering. P Fortunately, these problems are usually pretty easy to fix. First of all, how do you know if the problem is with your power steering? P Well, simply put, youll notice the sound gets worse when youre turning. P The sound could be coming either from your belt slipping on the power steering pulley, or from the power steering pump itself.

Your serpentine belt or accessory belt is made of rubber, which becomes less pliable when its cold. P The stiffer belt has a harder time getting a good grip on the pulleys, and the belt might slip over the pulley a bit. P That will cause a squealing noise. P Now, thats somewhat typical in cold weather, and will be worse the colder it is. P It may not represent a huge problem, but you might want to check your belt anyway. P Belts get stiffer with age anyway, so a newer belt might keep its pliability better in the cold. P If your belt looks stiff or cracked, you should probably replace it with a new one. The cold doesnt just affect the rubber of your belt. P It can also have an effect on you power steering fluid. P Power steering fluid is a viscous material. P In the cold, it gets thicker. P That means that its harder for your power steering pump to move. P The whining you hear might be your power steering pump struggling to get the power steering fluid going. P Power steering fluid tends to get thicker with age anyway, so just like your belt, newer is more cold-resistant than older. P A bit of whining, particularly when youve just started up, or when its very cold, might be normal. P Otherwise you might want to check your power steering fluid. P If the fluid appears dirty or gummed up, youll want to replace it. In short, a little bit of noise, especially when its very cold, is probably to be expected. P Persistent noise, though, might be an indicator to check on the condition of your power steering system. Written by.

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