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Power steering necessary?

I have a 1994 Nissan Maxima, is is starting to break down frequently and I am just trying to make it survive for another year or two for short commutes to work or the store. It is leaking power steering fluid pretty rapidly now. When I let it run completely out I know it will burn the pump out, will I then be able to drive the car around without power steering or will the car be useless?

I believe the belt that runs the P/S also runs the water pump so if the P/S pump seizes due to running dry, you could have a problem. It won’t take long for the engine to overheat.

I’m pretty sure this model uses a belt to run the PS pump by itself. If the pump seizes the belt may snap and the problem with that is the broken belt could be tossed into the others. That could lead to loss of the alternator and so on.

The belt could be removed and the car can be driven san power steering with no problems except one. That would be in situations where you must execute a sharp turn at low speed. It may require some muscle to force the issue. As to how much effort, that varies by car, tires, and so on.
Keep the tire pressure up if you decide to run without PS.

Do you know where the leak is, if it’s just an oring or even a hose the repairs can cheap and worth it. Obviously if it’s the rack, it’s time for plan B

i had a PS belt broke on a 1977 ford maverick,and being as cheap as i am i drove it without a PS belt for over a year.with no problem.

If the leak is just a hose, have it fixed…If the leak is from a more difficult part to replace, try adding 2 ounces of transmission stop leak to the P.S. fluid unless you have been using P.S. fluid w/stop leak already…If you allow the pump to run dry, it will seize up and take everything that the drive-belt is turning with it…But to answer your original question, no matter what, you will still be able to steer your car but with greater effort…

I’ve tried the stop leak stuff. Was at the mechanic for a window falling into the door problem, and they clamped a hose around the leaky one. They said it’d be $300 or so to fix the whole situation in there. The problem is that fixing $300-$600 things every few months I should just get a new car payment.
Is removing the belt something I could do to make sure it doesn’t snap and take other stuff with it?

I think $300 to fix the power steering is money well spent. If you look at payments for a new car, even if you spend $300 every few months is a lot less than a new car monthly payment.
Your car will be much easier to handle with the power steering and you might be able to avoid an accident with the better handling.

On some of these FWD cars, replacing a P.S. hose can be an all day job…They locate the pump in the WORST possible place…Zero access to the hose fittings… Even removing the belt may be a half-day job…

@Caddyman and @dripper I hadn’t thought about the FWD vs. RWD. On a front wheel drive such as the 1994 Nissan Maxima the power steering is even more important with more weight on the front wheels than a RWD such as a Ford Maverick. However, I had a former colleague who owned a 1969 Mercury Cougar. This was a RWD. At any rate, she said that the steering became heavy as she turned into a parking place and the car was leaking some kind of fluid. I recommended that she have it towed to the dealer. However, another colleague said that she could drive it out there. She came past my office and said she was going to drive the car to the dealer. After she left my office, I suddenly wondered if she could handle the car. I ran out to the parking lot. She had the car out of the parking place, but couldn’t turn the wheel and was sitting behind the wheel in tears. I drove the car to the dealer and even with RWD, turning against the power steering system made it a handful and I am an old country boy who has driven Farmall F-12 tractors.

Power steering and power brakes are what has enabled millions of women to become drivers…But yes, steering can become VERY heavy if you disable the power steering…MUCH heavier than a car that was not equipped with it…

A power steering car, with no power assist is MUCH harder to steer then a manual steering car. Clamping a hose around the hose if done right may buy you more time.

+1 with Caddy.
A broke power steering pump is about as useful as the “K” in “knee”.

It’ll make the car really difficult to drive and park. I’d get the leak fixed.

If you spend plenty of time in the weight room (think division one linebacker) it is possible but it won’r br fun.

I do not know how the different cars are effected. But I drove my 72 ford pickup truck for 20 years without power assist. Now probably that was a whole different animal, and sure I had to plan ahead for turns, and work out the biceps, I did not have money for the high pressure hose and after that I just got used to it. I think your car is different than my old pickup truck, The torture rack may cease to operate, get it fixed.

I agree with GSRAGTOP, you won’t be able to drive it. Just get it fixed or get a new car and be done with it. My water pump went south, throwing the serpentine belt off. I only had a mile to go to get to a shop but it was all I could do with two hand and arms to turn the car. Its not like just manual but near impossible except to bring to the side of the road.

awesome, thank you everyone for the advice

According to Gates it runs the PS and water pumps both. You;d need to measure aroud the WP and crank pulleys with a cloth sewing tape and bring the measurement in with the old belt to get a proper replacement.

Dead power steering…
the same as manual steering.
Not even close.
You’ll find near impossible to turn the wheel without a hurculean effort.

You don’t need power steering until you need to do a parallel park. Then you really won’t be able to move the steering wheel. Disabling power steering isn’t a good option. If you can fix this then just add fluid every few weeks until you can get the leak fixed.

You are driving a pretty old car. If you can’t handle repair bills, then it is time for you to get a new car with a new car warranty.