How to stop a power steering whining noise

Written by john stevens
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Few noises produced by an automobile are as recognisable as the power steering whining noise that sometimes sounds like a squeal. This familiar sound is commonly heard when the vehicle is turning while travelling slowly. Contrary to popular belief, the sound is not actually produced by the power steering pump, but rather by the belt which travels through the pump's pulley. As the steering wheel is turned, the belt's tension increases. If the belt is too loose, rather than gliding through the pulley, the belt slips, causing the screeching sound. Fixing the problem is as simple as tightening the belt.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Wrench
  • Metal pry bar
  • Ruler or tape measure

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  1. 1

    Loosen the power steering pump's adjusting arm bolt and its mounting bolt with a wrench. Power steering pumps are held against the side of the engine with two bolts, one located at the bottom of the pump and another at the top. The upper bolt is the mounting bolt and is stationary, meaning that it does not move. The lower bolt is called the adjusting arm bolt because once loosened, it slides back in forth through a cut-out in its mounting bracket.

  2. 2

    Pull the power steering pump away from the engine to tighten the pump's belt. As an alternative, a metal pry bar can be placed between the pump and the engine for added leverage.

  3. 3

    Tighten only the adjusting arm bolt once the belt feels tight.

  4. 4

    Press down firmly on the middle of the belt, between the power steering pump and the water pump, with one finger. The belt should only deflect by approximately one-quarter of an inch, as measured by a ruler or tape measure. If the tension on the belt must be adjusted, loosen the adjusting arm bolt and make the adjustment.

  5. 5

    Tighten the pump's mounting bolt with a wrench to complete the adjustment process.

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