Steering Wheel Hard to Turn?

What would make a steering wheel difficult to turn even though the power steering fluid is full and at the correct level and in good condition? (It’s red not brown). The serpentine belt isn’t broken or wearing out and the front tires are new and at the correct pressure. Just got a wheel alignment a few thousand miles ago as well.

The power steering pump isn’t making any groaning/whining noises, it’s just difficult to turn the steering wheel. It doesn’t feel like the vehicle has no power steering at all, but today I noticed there seemed to be a lot more resistance than usual when trying to turn the steering wheel.

My only thought is the power steering pump is in the early stages of failing? I doubt the rack is going bad because that usually causes loose steering not hard to turn/stiffness.

Without knowing the make, model, model year, or odometer mileage of your mystery vehicle, it will be difficult for any of us to be accurate, but I am going to guess that the problem does lie in the steering rack.

It could be a worn pump. If revving up the engine helps the problem, it is likely the pump.

Or it could be a worn rack. The seals in the rack that seal the power steering pressure that assist your effort, wear out, but don’t leak on the ground, they just leak to the low side of the pump. Unfortunately, revving up the engine can help that, too.

We’ll echo user VDCdriver, knowing the make, model, year, and mileage would help! If your power steering fluid is full and there’s no evidence of leaking, our guess would be a failing power steering pump.

Does steering become less stiff as you drive? If so, it could be your steering rack… Hope this helps.