As I was driving home the other day, I noticed the steering wheel on my 99 Subaru Legacy (130,000+ miles) became considerably stiffer than ever before. I pulled into my driveway (where, incidentally, the wheel loosened up) and checked the power steering fluid. Unsurprisingly, it was low.
I haven’t been on the road since, but I did turn the car around around in the driveway. Aside from the wheel gently stuttering or pausing initially (it’s done this when cold for a while now – I always assumed it was a loose belt or something) the wheel seemed normal.
I made an appointment with a mechanic and described my symptoms. He said he’d have to take a look, but suspected it was a bad power steering pump. Is this the only possibility? Could it be a bad belt or a leak somewhere in the system? If it is the pump, how much should I expect to pay to have it fixed? Your thoughts are most welcome!