92 Civic power steering stuck when cold

92 Civic DX hatchback, non-Calif. AT

Power steering suddenly not working when cold (~20 oF) in AM; nearly impossible to turn the wheel (for my wife). When I get home from work, and it’s warmer (~30 oF), it works fine (for me). When it (mostly) behaves, it does drive fine (though I would say that the variable-assist PS is no longer as “tight” at high speeds as it once was, but the car’s nearly 20 years old!

This just began a week ago (live just north of New York city), and has now happened enough times that I believe her :wink: So, since the PS fluid reservoir was just below lower line, I topped it up (Honda fluid!). No obvious leaks (I checked by putting some paper under the car, and watching for drips for a few days, including turning wheel from lock to lock over the paper).

Is it the pump? Or should I just flush the system (and how do you do that)?


I am going to guess you rack is bad and has what we call morning sickness. Does the power assist come back as she drives it??

I agree that this is likely to be a symptom of a bad steering rack, which–unfortunately–will be a fairly pricey repair. The pump should be checked also, but this symptom is more likely to be an indication of a problem with the steering rack.

Thanks, grastop & VDCdriver. My wife say she could barely turn it to get out of the garage, so she played it safe: instead of proceeding, she went back into the garage and took our other Honda. I’ll try it out next cold AM, and see if it PS wakes up as I drive it (around the driveway, at least at first!)