The power steering on my 2001 Honda Civic intermittently cuts out and the wheel becomes really hard to turn. The belt is tight and the fluid level is correct.
The weird thing about it, is it only happens in cold weather. Everything was fine all summer, but now that the weather has turned colder the problem has reappeared. Same thing happened last year. . .
There are no noises associated with this cut out? Any noise, like a groan, hum, squeal, ticking could help narrow down the source. There should be only two components that should cause this problem, the pump and the rack. If the cold is causing the fluid to stall at the pump, it could cause pressure drops. Likewise, if the cold is causing pressure leakage at the rack, or valves to stick in the rack, you’d also get this sensation. But, with the info given, These are just shots in the dark.
Empty (turkey baster or small siphon hose) and refill the reservoir with fresh fluid, drive for a day, repeat.
New fluid might help.
Use only Honda fluid.
No noises with the cut out. I just go to turn the wheel and there is no power steering. It will then just return to normal a little while later.
Honda Has Indicated That Some 2001 Civics Were Built With “Faulty” Power Steering Pumps.
They cause the steering to feel stiff when you turn the wheel or they make a grinding noise.
The fix is a new pump and flushing the system. Folks who were lucky enough to have their pump fail while under warranty got it replaced free of charge.
You are waaaaaay out of warranty.
Good News (possibly):
Honda did consider some customers eligible for “goodwill” help with this by the Zone Office or District Service Manger.
We don’t know if this is what is wrong with your car.
We don’t even know if your’s is one that is eleigble for help with a faulty pump. Only certain 2001 Civic vehicles are, according to VIN (vehicle I.D. number). Both of these conditions will have to be determined.
Honda dealers have a Service Bulletin that outlines all of this and gives VIN of afflicted Civics. I would start there by checking the VIN against the bulletin. Then I’d get a diagnosis.
CSA - Thanks for the info.