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Question: Is this Dealer giving us the run around about this Power Steering repair? I'm confused

Hi M&R Folks. Three weeks ago, we took our 1994 Chevy Geo in for a power steering repair. They replaced the power steering unit and charged us $500. The power steering works better than it did, but 3-4 times a week, the PS goes out when we go to turn. We are left trying to manually steer the car. We took it back to the dealer and they told us they couldn’t reproduce the problem, therefore, they couldn’t fix it. Apparently, they drive it around the lot a couple of times a day with no problem. My question is: If the PS is failing intermittently, doesn’t that mean the PS unit they installed is faulty? What else would it be? Is there no way to diagnose the problem without catching it in failure? We are old folks. We don’t know anything about cars and we have no idea what is going on. If someone could advise us, we’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks. Dianne

It is very likely that the tensioner for the belt that drives the PS pump has failed, thus leaving too much slack in the belt.

There is no reason whatsoever to take a 20 year old car to a dealership, so I strongly suggest that you take the car to an independent mechanic’s shop (NOT to a chain-run operation like Sears, Midas, Meineke, Monro, Pep Boys, et al) and ask him to check the condition of both the drive belt and the belt’s tensioner. More than likely he will find that this is the source of the problem.

I’s guess from your post (and the cost) that the power steering PUMP was replaced. The symptoms suggest that maybe the power steering RACK needs to be replaced. This will only get worse. Since they’ve already replaced the pump, if the belt is OK as @VDCDriver suggests you check, the rack is the next suspect. Prepare to spend more than $500.

Thanks for your comments. I ran them by the dealer’s repair dept and they said they checked everything you mentioned and there was nothing wrong with any of it. So they seem to be baffled by the failure. Me, too. (:-> They seem to feel that they have done all the could.

Get a second opinion. Ask everyone you know for a repair shop recommendation. When you hear the same place recommended several times, try them.

If it happens more often when it is raining it is your serpentine belt or tensioner.

I agree, get a second opinion. If the power assist part of the rack is failing, it will get worse and your (new) mechanic will be able to tell what the problem is.

“They seem to feel that they have done all the could.”

All the more reason to go elsewhere at this point!
Clearly, either their expertise or their interest in helping you is lacking at this point.
A well-reputed independent mechanic should be able to diagnose this problem relatively quickly.

How many miles on this car…? Maybe it’s time to upgrade your transportation…

the dealer has no interest in keeping your geo around forever. they sell cars.

It would help to know weather they changed your power steering pump or your rack & pinion. Your invoice should say which.

Exactly what Geo do you have?



I think your car uses 3 v belts, one of which is for the power steering pump