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(Suddenly) can barely steer

2003 Ford Taurus - Started my car tonight, and the car will barely turn left or right. My battery light is suddenly on, and there is fluid leaking out of the front passenger side - it’s dark out, so at least for tonight, I can’t get a good feel for where it is coming from. I opened up the power steering reservoir, and it appears to be full. Ideas about what the cause would be?

That fluid you see is probably getting on the drive belt causing slippage.

I took another look, and I think the fluid is coming from the coolant resevoir - it leaked very rapidly, too

More than likely the power steering pump shaft seal is leaking, getting onto the serpentine belt, causing the alternator pulley to slip, causing the battery light to come on.

Tester

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Does it appear to have “blown” out the reservoir cap? That’s serious.

Slippage is right… I just looked at the belt, and it is both wet, and has completely come off - didn’t break. It’s like it just slipped right off.

Cap is ok. There does appear to be a crack on the top of the resevoir with some moisture around it. Couldn’t be the location where all that fluid ran out, though

You have a pressurized reservoir…replace it.

Reservoir

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Check the water pump, if the bearings fail the pump can leak coolant and the belt may come off.

Obviously, clean off the pulleys and get a new belt.

My guess car overheated and died.

Check all the fluid levels as your first task. Engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and coolant.