Power Steering Pulley – What is That? Problems and Solutions

Pulleys are very important mechanisms in car engines. They are responsible to take the motion from the serpentine belt or timing belt. And also, the duty of the power steering pulley is very important. Here you can find detailed information about the power steering pulley.

What is Power Steering Pulley?

Power Steering Pulley
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Before understanding the power steering pulley, we need to understand the power steering system in our car. The power steering system is an auxiliary system that provides extra turning power to the steering system while you are turning your steering wheel. So, rotating the steering wheel is much easier with that system. Also, old cars do not have this system.

The working principle of the power steering system is very simple. There is a hydraulic system that provides extra power. Once you rotate the steering wheel, the system directs the hydraulic oil to exert extra force on the steering wheel. So there is a pump that directs the hydraulic oil.

The pump requires an amount of power. And this power directly comes from the serpentine belt. The serpentine belt provides rotational power to the pump of the power steering and you use the power steering system.

And the serpentine belt is connected to pulley systems to provide motion to different systems. And there is a pulley system that is connected to the power steering pump which we call a power steering pulley.

Structure of That Pulley

The pulley is directly connected to a shaft which connects it to the power steering pump. In general, the pulley has an external place that the serpentine belt sits on. And there is no slipping between the serpentine belt and the pulley system. From the hub section, the shaft system connects to the system.

Common Symptoms of Bad Power Steering Pulley

There are different kinds of symptoms of a bad steering wheel pulley. If you have these problems, you need to bring your car to a mechanic.

  • Noises: If you have a problem with your power steering pulley, you can hear strange noises coming from it. The squeaking and crunching noises are common in the case of pulley problems.
  • Hard steering: If you have a very bad problem with your pulley, the steering wheel pump can not take the required power from the engine. Thus, the pump can not direct the oil to the steering system. And you can feel the hard steering.
  • Belt wear: Also the bad pulley can cause the problem of excessive belt wear which can cause other kinds of problems with your engine.

So, if you have multiple of these problems, you may have a problem with your power steering pulley.

Common Problems

Also, we can explain the most common problems of the power steering pulley system.

  • Wear: This is the most common problem that you can face. The bearing systems or the shaft systems can wear with excessive use. In general, the pulley systems are designed to last with your car engine. But, if you use it excessively, wear on pulleys can take place. Also, the bearing that connects the shaft to the engine can get worn.
  • Filth: Filth and debris can take place also. The debris and filth accumulation can cause different kinds of problems with the pulley.
  • Tight serpentine belt: If the serpentine belt is very tight, it can cause general problems with the pulley systems of your car.
  • Misalignment: The pulley can be misaligned if we compare it with the other pulley systems.
  • Loose pulley: If the pulley is loose, it can not make its duty.


Among the common solutions, these are the general things;

  • Replacement: The replacement of the power steering pump pulley systems is a very common thing. If the wear and the fasteners are at problematic levels, replacement of the pulley will solve the problem.
  • Cleaning: Proper cleaning of the belt-pulley intersection points, and the bearing system that carries the shaft can solve the problems.
  • Alignment: A mechanic can adjust the alignment between the pulley systems in general.
  • Tightening the fasteners: If the fasteners and bolts are not tight enough, tightening these applications can solve your problems.

General Replacement Costs

It is very hard to say something about the replacement prices of these applications. The model and the brand of your car have a profound effect on it.

According to the brand and the model, the replacement costs of the pulley can range between $150-$350. In general, the price of the pulley is $20-$50. But the replacement process is not easy. The mechanics must detach the serpentine belt safety before taking the pulley application from your car. Also, they need to make the adjustment and alignment. This requires a level of expertise.

Can You Drive with a Broken Power Steering Pulley?

As we explained above, the serpentine belt system is connected to multiple pulleys that have different duties for your car engine. If you feel that the steering wheel is very hard, you can understand that there is a problem with the power steering system of your car. If the problem is at the pulley, this can affect the other systems of your car.

Maybe you can drive your car with a broken power steering pulley. But we are not recommending doing that. You need to bring your car to a mechanic as soon as possible.

Can I Hammer on a Power Steering Pulley?

Internal combustion engine systems are generally very sensitive and accurate systems. Hammering the different parts is not a good idea in general. Because, you can hammer the power steering pump, the engine block, and the bearing systems if you hit with a hammer to the old one.


These are the most important points that you need to know about the power steering pulley applications. If you have additional comments and questions about these topics, leave them below.

You can find other useful topics about pulley systems;

Crankshaft Pulley – Problems, Solutions and Explanation

Car Pulley – Explanation, Problems and Solutions

Uğur Uygun

Hello everyone, I am Uğur. I am a mechanical engineer who has experience in different R&D departments of HVAC companies. With my best friend, I decided to build this website to share out knowledge and experience. And also, I am interested in automotive. So, I am writing about automotive and automotive-related articles here. Sharing my knowledge and experiences on these topics is a very big pleasure for me. I am willing to answer all of the questions people have about these topics.

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