Subaru cold weather power steering whine

subaru
steering
outback

#1

When it gets cold, what sounds like my power steering whines really bad when I am turning the wheel. Once the car warms up, its fine but recently, we had some very cold weather (14 degrees for Atlanta is cold) I actually felt some resistance thru the steering wheel. I had read that there are some belts that may need adjustment or replacement, but dont want to get hit up with a service that may not be necessary. My car has 104K.


#2

It may be an O-ring seal on your power steering pump at the fluid return tube on top. the o-ring may be letting air into the system when its cold it shrinks.
Depends on which style pump you have.


#3

I assume you have made sure the fluid level is correct already. If that is ok and the belt is tight then you may have to replace the pump.


#4

I cant find any evidence of leaking below the reservoir and am not sure where to look around the rack and pinion area.


#5

The first thing to try is exchange the power steering fluid with fresh fluid. If this shows no improvement then what you’re expieriencing is what’s called morning sickness. This where the seals on the spool valve in the rack and pinion aasembly allow fluid to bypass them when cold so there’s no steering assist. Once everything heats up the seals no longer allow the fluid to bypass them and the steering assist returns.

Tester


#6

Sounds like a dealer service to exchange power steering fluid. Seems like that and differential fluid changes are really necessary more often that I would have thought.