Minis are designed with a unique Electro-Hydraulic Power Assisted Steering System, which is a combination of electric and hydraulic power steering system. The hydraulic power steering pump is driven by an electric motor rather than a belt in this setup. It is, without a doubt, one of Mini’s most significant inventions.
The power steering pump makes steering your Mini easier. It amplifies the driver’s steering efforts by applying pressure to the wheels. When your Mini power steering pump fails, you may notice that it takes more effort to steer. Discussed below are some causes and symptoms of a failed power steering pump in your Mini.
Causes of a Failed Power Steering Pump
The Mini power steering pump is not indestructible, as it wears down over time. The following factors could cause the pump to fail:
- Factory design defect: Certain Minis models built between 2001 and 2007 are prone to power steering pump failure due to design defects. Since power steering pumps build heat while in operation, an auxiliary fan was placed specifically to cool the power steering pump. However, the fan is also open to the elements and road debris, allowing rocks and debris to enter. This can cause the fan to stop completely.
- Low steering fluid: Power steering fluid is a crucial pump component. A large volume of steering fluid must flow through and lubricate your power steering pump for it to work smoothly. The power steering pump will last longer if the fluid level is kept at a safe level. However, running the pump on low power steering fluid for an extended time can eventually lead to power steering pump failure.
- Contaminated steering fluid: Contaminated fluid can clog the steering system, wear out fittings, increase friction, and possibly fail the power steering pump. Hence, you should change the fluid at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals and when you notice grits and grime.
- Lack of Maintenance: It’s essential to understand that your car is made up of mechanical components that might break down over time due to wear and tear. If not properly maintained and under correct pressure, steering pumps and other steering components might fail.
Symptoms of a Bad Power Steering Pump
There are obvious signs that indicate a failing power steering pump. If you notice any of these, you should call us right away:
- Whining or groaning noise: This is the most common symptom of a failing power steering pump. A bad power steering pump can cause a whining or squealing sound when you turn the steering wheel. This whining or squealing often intensifies as the engine speed increases and the steering wheel is turned.
- Stiff steering wheel: Turning the steering wheel should be easy and with little effort. However, if your power steering pump fails, steering will require more effort than usual. This can be dangerous, especially when you need to make quick turns during an emergency. So you should get your power steering checked immediately you notice this sign.
- Leaking fluid: A rusty-colored fluid under your Mini could be a power steering leak. If this fluid becomes too low, your steering performance would be impacted significantly.
- Metal shavings or gray power steering fluid: While checking the power steering fluid level in the reservoir, it is also important to check its color. If you notice your steering fluid’s color turned gray instead of reddish-brown, it means the fluid has oxidized and won’t work as designed. Oxidation occurs due to air in the steering system, which could enter through a leaking steering pump.
The power steering pump is an indispensable component of the power steering system, making driving less exhausting and safer. However, with a bad power steering pump, driving becomes strenuous and dangerous for both you and other road users.
Milestone Auto: Royal Palm Beach’s Leaders in BMW and Mini Services
At Milestone Auto, we perform high-quality maintenance, and our professionals are experts with rich knowledge and years of experience. We are familiar with power steering failure and are confident that we always deliver high-quality services each time you visit us. We employ the latest tools and equipment for our repairs and maintenance.
We are located in Royal Palm Beach, FL, and serve the surrounding areas of Wellington, West Palm Beach, and Palm Beach. Please schedule an appointment right away to give your car the maintenance it deserves.