Power Steering Pump Keeps Failing

Had a small leak in the power steering hose, so brought the car to shop #1. Fluid levels still above the minimum level when we brought it in. While getting the hose fixed, the power steering pump apparently failed at shop #1. We had it towed to shop #2 to get the pump fixed (solely because I had the pump replaced by them in December 2019, so it would be under shop #2’s warranty). We asked for a Volvo factory pump this time and were told it was replaced with one (but can’t confirm they actually did this). When we picked up the car, the steering was fine at driving speeds (~30-40 mph), however, near impossible to turn at idle or low speeds, and the pump makes sound while turning at low speeds. Immediately brought it back to the shop #2. Another pump placed and failed immediately. Shop #2 is saying while the hose was replaced at shop #1, metal debris likely got into the system/line and contaminated it, damaging the rack and pinion, which is why the pumps keep failing. They are willing to put another pump (this would be the 4th since December), but believe it will keep failing and suggest replacing the rack and pinion for $2600. However, there is no leak. Towed back to shop #1 yet again. They say doubtful its the rack and pinion, and that we are just getting bad pumps. They suggest taking it to a dealer to find out once and for all.

Any suggestions? Which do you believe to be more likely - metal debris from a hose changing, or just getting bad pumps each time?

I’m confused. You’re saying the vehicle is under warranty, but you’re not having the dealership repair the warrantied components? Why? And then you had a pump replaced by a second shop honoring the … Factory warranty? First shop’s warranty? What?

To me trying to read through the confusion it sounds like both shops are full of knuckleheads who are just hurling parts at the car and praying you’ll go away and meanwhile, if the vehicle really is still under warranty and the shop you took it to really did shove metal into the line, Volvo has no obligation to honor any sort of warranty on the rack.

So if shop 1 really did contaminate your rack, then they owe you a proper repair for the damage they caused.


Sorry for the confusion - neither is under factory warranty. The car has 135,000 miles on it. The hose was replaced by shop #1 in August 2019 (this shop has a year long warranty on parts) and pump was originally replaced by shop #2 in Dec 2019 (and this shop has a 3 year warranty on parts). Both are under respective warranties at the shops they were repaired at. When the pump failed at shop #1, we took it to shop #2 solely because the pump had been replaced there a few months ago and the part was still under their warranty. I edited the original post to hopefully make it (a little) less confusing.

Shop #1 is saying there’s no way metal debris/contamination could come from changing a power steering hose. They also don’t think the rack is bad. What do y’all think about this?

Filter and reservoir replaced when pump replaced. But pump keeps failing.

The next time they replace the power steering pump, have them also install a power steering fluid filter.

If the pump doesn’t fail in short order, the R&P is depositing debris into power steering system, taking out the pumps.



If you have an actual PS pump failure and in the process the pump contaminates the PS fluid with metal shavings…a pump replacement will be exposed to the remnants of the old pump and will destroy the new one in short order.

The system needs to be fully flushed of all metal shavings before asking a new pump to do its job. It cant until it has fresh fluid to work with, this is basic 101 type stuff.

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So in short, here’s what we’re having trouble with.

The pump failed at shop #1 and we were not having steering problems before this. Apparently all that happened at shop #1 was a hose replacement. How could the pump have failed? It had just been replaced by another shop in December. We’re attempting to see if either shop is at fault.

When the pump was replaced this time by the second shop (who replaced it in December), they did find metal debris. They flushed the system and added a filter. I’m guessing the system was already damaged because now the pumps keep failing.

Good luck in your investigation into which shop is responsible for what. When you replace a hose…you inevitably lose fluid. If the fluid is run very low, pump damage can occur when the engine is started and you are dealing with an aging pump…perhaps.

In all my years across a vast number of vehicles…I’ve had to replace one PS pump. They usually outlast the vehicle, so I cant imagine what occurred here. You surely aren’t going to get to the bottom of it in any type of satisfactory manner, so you might as well just move forward and not waste your time or energy.


here’s an idea, and you may not like it . . .

perhaps your car’s power steering complaint was misdiagnosed

I’m guessing you have speed sensitive power steering . . .

Perhaps there’s a problem with the speed-sensitive power steering, which typically has a solenoid on the rack, not the pump . . .

See what I’m getting at . . .


Could be! Thank you!

I tend to agree there may be an issue with the speed sensitive power steering.

I do not know how the Volvo is engineered but my Lincoln has speed sensitive steering and it’s somewhat complicated with a control module, steering column actuator, pump solenoid, and it’s also tied in with the speed sensor and air ride module.

Does you car have air suspension?
There are diagnostic codes which may be set. Do you know if the car has been scanned for any codes?
You could possibly drop by an AutoZone or O’Reillys auto parts store and have them take a quick look-see. It’s free unless you live in CA or HI. Maybe something will show up.

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