Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2009 CTS AWD Power Steering

My 2009 CTS Caddy with a 3.6L, 156,612K miles, AWD has been steering hard for a few weeks. Its very difficult to to steer at low speeds, like parking. At highway speeds its ok. Its not making any noise and the fluid level is where it should be. It is hard to steer at low speeds if the cars is hot and when its cold after just starting car. My question is, how to I determine if its the pump or rack or something connected with the speed sensative steering without going to the dealer. I was at the dealer for routine maintenance Friday and he didn’t have time to look at it but said a rack would be close to $1500 and a pump would be about $500, he didn’t even mention if there could be something wrong with the speed sensative dohickey. Which leads to my second question, can my normal mechanic, who I believe to be quite capable, be trusted to replace the pump or rack or is this a job that the dealer would be more suited doing. If can bring it to my mechanic I can always buy the parts myself ($400 for rack and $200 for pump at Rockauto) and he can install it. Thats why I would like to figure out exactly which part is bad before I go to him.

Power steering isn’t a factor when moving fast, so your symptoms are consistent with a failed power steering system. Hopefully it is just the pump. Has anyone added fluid to the pump? These pumps can require a very specific fluid, often only available at the dealership.

In any event, any good reputable inde mechanic should be able to replace a power steering pump. For the rack, you’d be better off to find someone, an inde mechanic preferably, with Caddy experience. You might ask around at front end shops for a recommendation.

Is this a belt driven pump or an electric driven pump? If electric, maybe you just need a fuse or relay.

If your mechanic replaces the rack, does he have a scanner that will reset the steering angle sensor, if needed?
I’m inclined to think that the problem does indeed lie with the speed sensitive portion of the system. I believe you’re supposed to have maximum assist at lower speeds and minimal or no assistance at freeway speeds. There may be a solenoid somewhere on the rack. If the wiring got damaged, for example, it won’t work.

I believe its a belt driven system. The dealer always checks and refills (last time was Friday) the fluid if needed but according to all repair reports from dealer there are no leaks or no fluid as been added.
I do not think my Mechcanic would have a scanner to reset the angle.
I will check for blown fuses and examine rack for damaged wires. Thanks

I tried to locate the fuse for the speed sensitive steering but do not see one. Does anyone know if its listed under a different name? I located the solenoid but now have to figure out how to find out if thats bad.

The problem might be with the Power Steering Pressure switch.

The computer takes information from the Vehicle Speed Sensor and the Power Steering Pressure switch to determine how much steering assist is required at a given speed. It then instructs the Idle Air Control valve to open slightly to bring the engine speed up slightly to turn the power steering pump faster, thereby providing power steering assist at slow speeds.


Check power and ground at the solenoid.

Might want to also check for bound or failing ball joints. I found my steering issue and belt slippage were fixed after my previously inspected( 5 months before) lower ball joint separated. Fortunately for me and the car it was being test driven on my local bumpy roads after a minor repair at home. A short tow home, new lower arm and the steering was all better.

Is it EVER easy to steer at low speeds?