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Steering problem

For a couple years my car would squeal when I would start it, like it had a squeaky belt. It got worse in the cold weather. The other day when I started the car it squealed quite loudly and suddenly stopped. When I went to turn at the end of the driveway my power steering was no longer working. I checked the fluid and it was still full. I was, however, low on oil.

Is the belt that drives the power steering pump still there?

It sounds like the belt that’s been squealing for a couple of years finally broke, and that’s why the steering is now hard to turn.

Please don’t drive the car this way. It’s not safe. If you can’t fix it yourself have it towed to a mechanic.

And in the future, you might want to consider getting atrange noises looked into before they manifest themselves as catastrophic component failures. You just might save yourself a lot of money by doing so.

I don’t know what belt I’m looking for exactly, but they all seem to be in tact, from what I can see of the engine from on top and underneath everything is still in tact.

I just looked at what that component looks like and from the top it definitely looks like it’s still in tact, of course I don’t know what it looks like in the engine.

You need to have a shop look at this ASAP. My guess is that your PS pump is toast, has been binding for some time now and causing the belt to squeal.

And you were low on oil? How low? Do you ever check it?

I mean no disrespect, but if you continue to ignore the warning signs your car is giving you and continue to ignore your oil level, this poor Neon is doomed for an early demise. You might want to pull out the owners’ manual and the maintenance schedule, read it through, get the car into a good independent shoop to have it gone over and the overdue maintenance brought up to date, and begin to follow the recommended maintenance schedule.

If the belts are still there the power steering pump may have failed, or a hydraulic line has broken, or some other part of the steering system has let go.

It still needs to be towed to a mechanic. You can’t safely drive without power steering.

As I usually do, I agree with mountainbike.

Ignoring that squealing noise for “a couple of years” was…not wise.
Allowing your motor oil to fall to a low level is really unwise.

Even if everything appears to be INTACT, clearly something is wrong with the power steering–either the belt that drives the PS pump, or the pump itself. The car needs to be taken to a well-reputed mechanic (NOT Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, Pep Boys, AAMCO, or any other chain operation) for examination, as it is not safe to drive in its present condition.

And, as a car owner, you owe it to yourself to investigate new strange noises promptly, and to monitor the level of all fluids in this car every few weeks. Good maintenance is invariably cheaper than the repairs that result from a lax approach to maintenance.

Thanks for the advice y’all. Typically I do an oil change every 3,000 (sometimes longer now because I started using synthetic oil), but I was out of the country for 6 months and it was just sitting. I never bothered to check the oil when I got back. I’m not too worried about it in the immediate future as I very seldomly use it, but thanks very much for the advice.