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What's wrong with my car?

MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
edited August 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
3 times now, I've been driving my car and suddenly as I am turning, I hear a loud squeaking sound and immediately after my steering wheel becomes hard to turn. This lasts only a few terrifying seconds, and then steering returns as normal.

This car is a Suzuki Aereo which was brand new when I bought it 6 years ago, and it's got just under 50,000 miles.

Does anyone have a clue as to what could be behind my sudden loss of steering? I suspect it is a power steering failure, but I'd like to get the opinion of the community.

MagicToaster on

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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Yeah that seems the most likely, but it could be of a dozen things too.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    Sounds like the belt slippage on the power steering pump. This could be because the belt is too loose or the pump could be wearing out. Have you checked the power steering fluid level lately?

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    MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Ruckus wrote:
    Have you checked the power steering fluid level lately?

    No, I'll get on that tonight! If it's low, could that be it?

    MagicToaster on
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    It could be. Low power steering fluid can cause the belt to slip and make it hard to steer.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    ChanusChanus Harbinger of the Spicy Rooster Apocalypse The Flames of a Thousand Collapsed StarsRegistered User regular
    Power steering fluid is one of those things you should only have to check if there's a problem, though... It doesn't tend to "get low" like oil or coolant would... so if it is low, you might want to check for leaks.

    Have you noticed any spots where you keep your car parked?

    Given it is intermittent, I'd think it more likely your belt is loose (especially do to the squeaking noise).

    Allegedly a voice of reason.
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    MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    No leaks. My car is housebroken.

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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    I've had such squealing (like loose belts, or a power steering pump starting to fail) before, particularly when turning the wheel while stationary or turning to the locks. In my case I had a very small power steering fluid leak. Small enough that it didn't drip, just kinda oozed along the housing and engine collecting dirt. Noticed the fluid was low and topped it up, which resulted in my rarely getting the noise now. But this isn't a permanent fix, eventually I'll have to replace the power steering pump.

    Djeet on
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    Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    It sounds like the pump is stalling under load, most likely because the belt is old. Get it replaced, and if the power steering fluid hasn't been changed in 3 years or more, have the system flushed and filled too. Power steering oil is hygroscopic, just like brake fluid. Not to the same extent (it's not as aggressive in absorbing moisture), but over time it does take in water, which then corrodes the insides of your power steering system.

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    ZeonZeon Registered User regular
    Its 100% definitely the power steering system. It could be the pump, it could be the belt, it could be low fluid. Your car is safe to drive, you dont need power steering, so theres no real urgency to get it fixed.

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    MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    Zeon wrote:
    Its 100% definitely the power steering system. It could be the pump, it could be the belt, it could be low fluid. Your car is safe to drive, you dont need power steering, so theres no real urgency to get it fixed.

    I'd don't know if I'd describe power steering going in and out as "safe to drive." "Capable of being driven" for sure, but when power steering cuts out suddenly, it can be pretty jarring for some people and if it were to happen at a bad time, I could see an accident potentially happening because of it. That being said, I would try the least expensive options first and start with topping off the power steering fluid.

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    wallabeeXwallabeeX Registered User regular
    Getting your fluid checked and belt replaced is extraordinarily cheap - you can expect to have it cost around $50. I'd just have that done, and if that doesn't help, it's the pump.

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    republic of merepublic of me Registered User regular
    did you check your power steering fluid? it could also be a track rod end. I had a problem with the steering rack in a car i had a long time ago and it used to do something similar.

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