Trouble shooting a new steering issue

I am posting this issue because I tried under my R&P subject line and got no follow-up. I had my 2003 impala in today and had the tires rotated and new back breaks in. The place told me that I was kinda low on PF and it looked like my R&P was leaking. I have had zero issues with the steering since purchasing the car 16 months ago.

After I got my car back and they topped off the PS fluid, changed the breaks and rotated the tires I now have a steering issue when I turn the wheel to the left and only the left. At highway or city street driving, no issue, but if I am stoped or say trying to turn into a parking space the wheel is sluggish to the left and I hear a sound. Again I can turn right under same issues and it’s a smooth turn. I finally was able to get the PS cap off when I got home and there is fluid, however it did make a suction sound when I finally got it off and never remember hearing that sound on any other car I have when removing the PS cap. I need to make a long drive tomorrow of about 300 miles but am now concern of what is causing this all of a sudden and should I not drive.

While driving on both interestate and city roads there is no sound no vibration or anything unless going like less then 5-10 mph.

I really hope some folk can offer some advice…

If your power steering fluid reservoir is attached to the power steering pump and the engine is running, you will hear a suction sound when you remove the cap. Was the power steering fluid up to the mark with the engine off?

Get out your owners manual and see what is used for power steering fluid in your car. I believe that it calls for Dexron III or Dexron VI, but it may specify something else. The place that topped of the PS fluid may have used the wrong fluid.

As long as you have fluid in the PS system, you should be OK. If it runs dry, it could ruin the center bearing and seal in your PS pump.

Would wrong fluid only effect it turning in one direction?

Too many undefined abbreviations. R&P PF PS

PS I assume is Power Steering.

Assuming the problem is reproducible, take it back to the mechanic and get his opinion.

GM racks have rotating seals that can fail and cause your symptoms.

By removing the cap and putting it back on has helped but still issues with turning left.

I presume R&P means Rack and pinion.
And that PF means Power steering fluid, and PS means Power steering.

If they said that your Rack is leaking, I presume this is what is causing the problem.

I would opt to have the rack replaced. but if you ever ran the pump low because of this leak…the pump may be bad now, and no matter how much fluid you add the noise will be there.


I would only take off the power steering cap with the motor off. I would drain the current fluid with a turkey baster and refill with the proper fluid. I think the shop may have put in the wrong fluid, they just used what was handy.

It is also possible that some air may have gotten into the steering lines. Don’t overfill the tank, and check it and top off as needed daily when you park the car for the night. It will take sometime for the air to work its way out of the system.

The problem should self resolve in a few days if you do the above. It is better to drive the car rather than let it sit. I had a power steering noise in my '04 T’bird. Ford had put out a bulletin with a procedure to fix it. It involved lots of turning the steering wheel from lock to lock left and right. This was done to speed up the circulation of fluid and purge some air out of the system after changing some part(s). Whatever it worked.

The noise isn’t a whine but gurgle sound. As for draining and refilling I thought of that as I did it on my last vechile but Chevrolet were idiots on where they put the PSF holder, not sure if I can get to it.

I am still baffled as to why is it only effecting turning to the left?

Why the symptom only when turning left? It’s possible the forces involved are different turning left than right. Not everything that affects the steering is exactly symmetrical. First off, make sure the belt and pulleys on the PS pump circuit are in good shape, and the belt tension adjusted correctly.

Good ideas above to make sure the correct fluid is installed and it is air bled. I had an air pocket develop one time on my truck and I just removed the dipstick on the PS pump and very slowly turned the steering wheel all the way from right to left a half-dozen times with the engine idling, that seemed to work the air out. You want to do this very slowly to avoid splashing the fluid out the top of the PS pump and meanwhile introducing more air. Try to avoid bumping hard against the steering stops.

Speaking of the steering stops, before presuming you have a r&p leak, make sure it’s not the more common leak, a leak at the PS hose connector. When you turn the steering wheel all the way to the stop, like when parking, this puts a lot of force on the hose. Eventually it will twist and flex enough times that it springs a leak right where it attaches to the connector. Usually it starts as a very slight almost imperceptible leak, and gradually grows to become more noticeable over time. A new hose is the solution for that.

This evening I removed the PS fluid cap and slowly turned the wheel completely left all the way then right and back about 4 full rotations in my drive way moving the car very slowly in drive then reverse, then put the cap back on.

My owners manual calls for Power steering fluid from the dealership so I will get it this Saturday and see how much I can remove via Turkey baster and put correct in.


Others might disagree with me . . .

Buy some power steering fluid at pretty much any parts stores. The label on many of them will say its meets the GM specs

I thought I would call the dealership parts dept and see what they charge. All I know is I have to resolve this as it is causing me continual stress.