2001 PT Cruiser's Power Steering Pressure Sensor leak

My 2001 PT Cruiser has 58000 miles on it. Recently, my mechanic said I need a new rack and pinion (whatever that is). It is going to be pricey. My question is: Is it safe to drive while waiting for the parts to arrive from Chrysler? I need to go to an appointment that is 40 miles round trip, and I will be driving most of those miles on the Interstate.

You will have to give us a little more information. How much fluid is leaking out i.e. how often do you have to refill the reservoir? What did your mechanic recommend? Are you able to muscle the steering wheel if the assist should fail?

In the header to the post you mention “Power Steering Pressure Sensor leak”. Usually the sensor is replaceable and mounted in the pump or power steering rack – a simple remove and replace operation. The one risk of allowing the power steering system run out of fluid other than loss of assist is that the pump can burn up because of lack of lubrication.

Help us to help you.

The amount of fluid on my garage floor is what sent me to the mechanic. He replaced the “power steering pressure sensor” and said the original one was “stripped” and must have been cross threaded. He thinks it was jiggling for quite a long time to cause it to appear the way it did. The recall repair was done in October 2005. When he replaced it, they had to “tap” it (whatever that means – I’m a widow and have no idea what the jargon means.) He wasn’t sure it would hold. Well, it didn’t. I called Chrysler to see if they would fix it. Of course, they said “no”. So, now it has to be the rack and pinion, which the mechanic will order. The steering doesn’t seem too bad – it is the noise that is scary. I don’t ususally have to drive far – and some days not at all. However, on Monday, I have an appointment about 20 miles away – almost all highway miles (and I drive 55 mph because the gas mileage on the PT is so bad) so I am wondering if I dare drive it there, or do I have to rent a car for the day. A “burned up pump” sounds even more expensive. HELP, (please).

The noise that you are hearing is probably because the fluid level to the pump is so low that air is getting drawn into the pump. If this is happening soon after a refill, you are losing a lot while you are driving. To be safe and avoid damage to the pump, you probably should rent a car for the trip. Alternately, you could borrow a car from a friend or ask a friend to drive you – maybe offer to pay for lunch.

Hope this helps.

Thanks so much for the advice. With my luck, I would probably have an accident with a friends car so guess I will rent one. It will be a bit more costly than lunch, though. Maybe I better rethink this. Again, thanks for helping.