Power Steering Question

I have a 1995 Nissan Maxima with 140K miles. I’ve had a slow power steering leak for months and I’ve been adding fluid when it starts to make noise. It got very cold here recently and when I started it the pump made a groaning noise and the power steering went out. I added some fluid but that did not fix the problem. I’m wondering if it’s okay to keep driving it without power steering. I’m in no hurry to spend more money on repairs than I already have this year. Will it cause any further damage if I drive it without power steering? Thank you.

I’m going to guess that you may have already ruined the power steering pump by running it continually low on fluid. Will it cause further damage? Yes, especially if you need to make a sudden evasive maneuver. You could also damage or kill someone else.

I’d suggest you get it looked at by a competent independent mechanic ASAP. It MAY be something as simple as a bad hose.

Besides, 2015 is a whole new year to lavish money on it. It’s cheaper than several years of car payments if the rest of the car is good, and you like it.

I’m with MG on this one. It won’t cause more damage mechanically, but there’s a safety issue here that’s far more important than just the FMEA.

^You don’t know if OP is an 88# receptionist…or a 350# longshoreman. Saying “driving without PS is unsafe” isn’t warranted in advance of the facts.

I’ve had no problem making evasive maneuvers in cars without PS…and in cars with INOP PS. OP can find an empty parking lot and find out for himself.

In fact, I’d bet that being able to sucessfully steer a vehicle to a stop, in the event of PS failure, is a REQUIRED safety feature.

I stand with @thesamemountainbike on this assessment.

Even a 350 pound longshoreman can’t make an evasive turn as quickly without power steering as he can with it working. It’s a safety thing. I recently drove an '04 Mustang to my shop with no power steering. It required much more effort than old fashioned non-power steering as you have to overcome the resistance of the P/S rack and the dead pump itself.

I can’t imagine trying to run in an autocross-Solo II event, where all the turns are sudden but known to the driver, without working power steering.

No way it’s safe.

I stand behind my agreement with MG… (I think I just confused myself) {:-0

Failures that compromise your ability to perform evasive maneuvers compromise your ability to avoid a small child that runs out from behind a parked car after a ball. The one that is the subject of the thread also compromises your ability to maintain control of your vehicle should you whack that unseen pothole or hit that unseen “black ice”. A PS failure is a serious safety issue and should be addressed.

It really needs to be repaired but failing that you should be aware of a few things.
Remove the PS belt rather than risk a pump seizure which could snap the belt and dislodge other belts which in turn could create even more problems.

On open road you may find handling is acceptable if not normal. The problem may (depends…) be that the steering will require some grunt if you’re turning the wheel sharply at low speed in a tight spot, sharp U-turn, etc.

For what it’s worth, back in the 80s PS was optional on Subarus and some Nissans. I’ve driven them with and without PS and had no problems even on the ones w/o PS. The cars are identical except there is a slight difference in the steering rack pinion gear ratio to make the non-PS cars a bit easier to turn.

Manual steering cars usually have a few degrees less caster to reduce steering effort.