I was driving down the freeway in my 2002 nissan xterra 2wd, and upon de-celeration, I heard a sort of “click”… sort of an adjustment sound. Next thing I know, I’m exiting the freeway, and my power steering isn’t working! I thought my car died… but everything else is working fine. It’s still drivable, but takes some muscle to turn any sort of corner. Am I hurting it by still driving it? Is it the power steering pump or the rack and pinion? how can I find out without taking it to a mechanic for a 150 dollar inspection?
Sounds to me like you might have sprung a leak. If so, since the pump has been spinning without lubricant/coolant (the pump fluid does both) it may be toast now.
No, there’s no way to know without looking. Get it done ASAP. Should you have to make a sudden evasive maneuver…and we all do occasionally…not having your power steering functioning could cost you or someone else a life.
I checked the power steering fluid level, and the resevoir is full. Would it still be full if there was a leak?
The reservoir would be empty if there was a leak. Is the drive belt intact on the pump?
If the belt is OK, the pump or the steering box failed.