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What is the flowing sound when I turn the steering wheel?

This happens with every car and there is nothing wrong with the car but out of curiousity I was just wondering what makes the flowing sound when you turn the steering wheel the whole way. When I turn the steering wheel from lock to lock and when I reach a point when I can’t turn the steering wheel anymore, I hear a sound that sounds similar to fluid flowing. Once I release the steering wheel, the sound goes away. Can anyone tell me what that sound is and what exactly is going on? It sounds very similar to fluid flowing or something pumping.

You are hearing the power steering pump working against the steering stops–and that is not a good thing.

In case you are not aware of it, you should not be holding the steering wheel in such a way that you hear this noise. If you continue to hold the steering wheel against the steering stops, you will cause excess wear on the power steering pump, thus leading to early failure of the pump.

That sound is the pressure relief valve functioning that is there to prevent damage to your PS pump and other components such as hoses. There are no specific instructions in my owner’s manual requiring that the steering wheel not be held for long at either the left or right stop. It naturally happens that you will not do that. If your car has electric power steering, you will not hear the sound that you described.

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