Ford F150 Power Steering Pump Problems: 6 Common Reasons

A whining or grinding noise can indicate power steering pump problems. In addition, difficulties with steering, overheating, and erratic steering are other indicators of problems with this component. The root causes of this issue can be attributed to insufficient fluid levels or contaminated fluid in the power steering pump’s reservoir. Other factors such as a worn-out power steering gasket, a faulty power steering pump pulley, or air in the power steering pump may also contribute to this problem.

This is a brief overview regarding power steering issues with the Ford F-150. To obtain a more in-depth guide, continue reading.

5 Common Symptoms of Ford F150 Power Steering Problems

Unusual noise, leaking fluid from the pump, difficulty steering, etc. are some of the common symptoms that indicate problems with the power steering pump. We’ll discuss these symptoms further in the following segments.

Symptom 1: Unusual Noise

A bad power steering pump can make a variety of strange noises. Worn-out bearings in the pump can cause a whining or grinding noise, particularly noticeable when turning the steering wheel. A low power steering fluid level can also cause a whine or groan, especially at low speeds or when turning the steering wheel. 

A damaged or worn-out pulley can result in a rattling or clunking noise, while a clogged filter can lead to increased pressure on the system and resulting noise. Sometimes, the pump may simply malfunction or fail, causing a loud noise or no power steering. A mechanic should inspect any unusual noises coming from the power steering pump to prevent further damage and ensure road safety.

Symptom 2: Leaking Fluid

A 1994 Ford F150 user faces a leaking fluid problem due to the broken cap of the fluid reservoir. Problem was that whenever there is a pressure development in the power steering system the fluid starts to leak from the broken cap, resulting in reduced pressure and thus the power steering problem. 

Broken cap also results in some water moving into the power steering reservoir making the problem worse. Solution was simple and straightforward, replace the cap and flush the power steering system.

A bad power steering pump in a Ford F150 can also cause leaking fluid if it has worn-out seals or if the fluid lines have developed leaks. A power steering pump’s seals can wear out and fail over time, causing fluid to leak. Similarly, fluid lines can develop small flaws that eventually become bigger, leading to leaks.

If a leak develops in the power steering system, it can cause a loss of fluid pressure, which can make it difficult or impossible to steer your F150. As the problem worsens, the power steering pump may fail completely, and the pump, hoses, and fluid lines may need to be replaced.

Symptom 3: Difficulty Steering

A bad power steering pump in a Ford F150 can cause difficulty steering, as the power steering pump is responsible for supplying pressurized fluid to the steering gear, which helps to reduce the effort needed to turn the steering wheel. If the power steering pump is not functioning properly, it can result in a loss of power assistance, which makes it much harder to turn the steering wheel, especially at lower speeds.

Symptom 4: Erratic Steering

A bad power steering pump in a Ford F150 can cause erratic steering by reducing the hydraulic pressure that assists in turning the wheels. This can result in difficulty in turning the steering wheel or the steering wheel feeling stiff and heavy, making it harder to control the vehicle. It can also cause the steering to feel loose or unresponsive, leading to unpredictable movements or oversteering.

Symptom 5: Power Steering Pump Overheating

A bad power steering pump can cause overheating in a Ford F150 by working harder than it should be, leading to excessive heat buildup within the pump. This extra workload can be caused by several factors, including a lack of fluid, dirty fluid, or an obstruction in the system.

If the power steering pump is not functioning properly, it may not be able to circulate enough fluid to cool itself, causing it to overheat. This overheating can then affect other systems in the engine, potentially leading to engine failure.

6 Reasons Behind Ford F150 Power Steering Problems

Several reasons, such as low and contaminated fluid levels in the power steering pump, and wear in the pump gasket are responsible for the power steering problems. Refer to the table below for a quick overview of the reason, diagnosis, and solution of the power steering problems.

Reasons Diagnosis Solution
Low level of power steering fluidCheck the fluid level in the pumpRefill fluid
Contaminated power steering fluid Inspect the fluidFlush old and contaminated fluid and refill with the right fluid 
Worn-out power steering gasketVisually inspect the leakage Replace the gasket
Faulty power steering pump pulleyVisually inspect the pulleyReplace the pulley
Air in the power steering pumpCheck Bubbles in the FluidRemove ais from the pump
Worn-out power steering pump belt 

Now, let’s briefly discuss these reasons and their solution below.

Reason 1: Low Level Of Power Steering Fluid

In a Ford F150, low power steering fluid levels can cause problems because it reduces the power steering system’s ability to function properly. And that results in increased steering effort and potential damage to the power steering pump.

Diagnosis: Inspect the Fluid Level In the Pump

Locate the power steering reservoir on a Ford F-150 in order to check the fluid level. On this truck, you can find it by looking for the pulley that has rubber hoses coming off it. Follow those hoses to the power steering pump, and you will find the reservoir.

Make sure the engine is off before checking the fluid level. Check the level of the reservoir using a flashlight after opening the cap. Some vehicles may have a dipstick attached to the reservoir, but in some models of Ford, the level marks are on the bottle. 

Check that the fluid is in good condition and that the level is at the appropriate range. If it’s not you need to refill the fluid in it. 

Solution: Refill Fluid

Refilling fluid is quite a simple task. The reservoir has minimum, middle, and maximum marks. If the level is low, you can add a small amount of fluid using a funnel. Once you reach the proper level, put the cap back on the reservoir. 

You can also refer to the video below for a visual guide on this- Where To Add Power Steering Fluid on a 2008 Ford F150

Reason 2: Contaminated Power Steering Fluid 

Having contaminated power steering fluid in a Ford F150 can cause difficulty steering, power steering pump failure, and damage to the steering rack.

It is because contaminated fluid can cause wear and tear on the system, resulting in decreased performance and potentially expensive repairs. By performing regular maintenance and checking fluid levels, these problems can be prevented.

Diagnosis: Inspect the Fluid 

In most cases, the power steering fluid should be red and clean. However, if you suspect that your power steering fluid may be contaminated, here are a few things you can look out for:

  1. Discoloration: If the fluid looks dark, dingy, or murky, it could be a sign of contamination. Contamination can occur due to dirt, debris, or wear particles in the system.
  2. Burnt Smell: If you notice a burnt smell coming from the power steering fluid, it could be an indication of overheating or friction within the power steering system. The fluid can become contaminated as a result of this breakdown.
  3. Foam or Bubbles: If you notice foam or bubbles in the power steering fluid, it could be a sign of air getting into the system, which can cause contamination.

If you notice any of these signs, it usually means there’s a problem with the power steering system, and the fluid may be contaminated.

Solution: Flush Old And Contaminated Fluid And Refill With The Right Fluid

Flushing the old power steering fluid and refilling it with the correct fluid to get rid of the contamination is a challenging task. Therefore, do it carefully by referring to the video below. 

Reason 3: Worn-Out Power Steering Pump Gasket

In the power steering system of a Ford F150, the power steering gasket plays a critical role. Its primary function is to prevent power steering fluid from leaking out of the pump and other components, ensuring that the system can operate at peak efficiency.

Eventually, the gasket may wear out or become damaged, allowing fluid to leak out. It can cause a variety of problems for the power steering system, including decreased performance and increased pump wear.

If left unchecked, a worn-out power steering gasket can also cause damage to other components of the power steering system, such as the steering rack and pinion or the pressure hose. This can result in more serious and costly repairs down the line.

Diagnosis: Visually Inspect the Pump

You’ll be able to understand if the power steering pump gasket is worn out if you visually inspect the power steering pump. You’ll see the fluid leaking from the pump within the joint of the two steel covers. 

The leak could be coming from a crack in the pump housing or the pump seals. The color of the fluid will be red, but make sure not to confuse it with transmission or coolant fluid, since these can also be red.

Solution: Replace the Gasket

Replacing the power steering pump gasket on a Ford F150 can be a relatively straightforward task if you have the right tools and follow the proper steps. 

However, it’s important to note that working on a vehicle can be dangerous, so make sure to take the necessary safety precautions before starting. 

You can refer to the video below for a visual guide for replacing the Ford F150 power steering pump gasket. Ford Power Steering Teflon Seal Install No Special Tools

Reason 4: Faulty Power Steering Pump Pulley

A faulty power steering pump pulley can cause problems in the Ford F150 power steering pump because it sits in the path of the car’s serpentine belt. If the pulley binds, wears, or does not spin smoothly, it can cause the power steering pump to fail, resulting in poor steering response or excessive steering response.

Additionally, a seized or rubbing pulley can cause a burnt smell under the hood of the car. Therefore, it’s important to inspect the pulley regularly and have it replaced if necessary to prevent power steering failure.

Diagnosis: Visually Inspect the Pulley

To visually check for power steering pump pulley failure, first, inspect the condition of the serpentine belt that runs over the power steering pump pulley. Check for signs of wear, damage, or cracking on the belt. Next, look at the power steering pump pulley itself, checking for wear, damage, or missing pieces. 

Inspect the pulley for any wobbling or off-center movement, as well as its alignment with the other pulleys on the engine. Finally, mark the pulley and start the engine, observing the pulley as it spins to ensure it rotates smoothly, consistently, and evenly. If any abnormalities are found, the pulley is faulty.

Solution: Replace the Pulley

To replace the power steering follow steps 1 and 2 of replacing the gasket and then follow steps 8, 9, and 11 to reinstall the new pulley. You can also watch the video below for the tutorial on how to replace the power steering pulley.

Reason 5: Air In The Power Steering Pump

Air in the power steering pump can cause problems in a Ford F150 because it disrupts the flow of hydraulic fluid and can lead to noisy and difficult steering. When the air gets into the power steering system, it gets compressed by the pump and forms pockets that prevent the hydraulic fluid from flowing smoothly. 

This can cause the power steering pump to make whining or grinding noises, and can also make it difficult to steer the vehicle, especially at low speeds or when turning. Bleeding the system is necessary to remove the air and restore proper hydraulic flow.

Bubbles inside the car Fluid

Diagnosis: Check Bubbles in the Fluid

To check for air in the power steering pump, you can inspect the power steering fluid in the reservoir for signs of air bubbles.  However, watch the video below for the proper inspection- Detecting Air in Power Steering System

Solution: Remove Air From the Pump

Fortunately, removing air from the power steering system is relatively simple and can be done in just a few steps. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to remove air from the power steering in Ford F150:

Tools Needed

  1. Power Steering Fluid
  2. Drain Pan
  3. Hose
  4. Socket Wrench
  5. Safety Warning

Safety Precautions

  1. Make sure the engine is off and cool before starting the procedure.
  2. Be careful not to spill power steering fluid on your skin or clothes, as it can cause skin irritation and damage to the paint.

Step 1: Check The Fluid Level In The Power Steering System

Make sure the power steering reservoir cap is off and check the power steering fluid level. Add as much fluid as needed to fill it up, then replace the cap.

Step 2: Locate the Bleed Valve for the Power Steering

Locate the power steering bleed valve on the steering box. Follow the high-pressure line from the power steering pump to the other end, which is in the power steering box, if you have trouble finding it.

Step 3: Attach the Hose

Push a hose on the end of the bleeding valve. Make sure the hose reaches outside the front of the car. Place a drain pan on the floor in front of the car and place the other end of the hose into it.

Step 4: Start the Engine

Turn on the engine and allow it to idle for a while.

Step 5: Loosen the Bleed Valve

Loosen the bleed valve slightly using a socket wrench. This will allow the air to escape from the system.

Step 6: Turn the Steering Wheel

Turn the steering wheel to the right and left, from lock to lock, as much as you can. This will help to circulate the power steering fluid through the system.

Step 7: Turn off the Engine

Turn the steering wheel completely left and right and shut off the engine. And then close the bleed valve tightly.

Step 8: Check the Power Steering Fluid Level

Fill the reservoir with the power steering fluid until it is full. Check for Air Bubbles

Check the fluid that came out into the drain pan. If you notice air bubbles, repeat the procedure.

Removing air from the power steering system in your Ford F150 is an essential maintenance task that can help you avoid potential damage to your power steering system. If you encounter any difficulties during this process, it’s best to seek the help of a professional mechanic.

Reason 6: Worn-Out Power Steering Pump Belt 

The power steering pump belt is typically a part of the serpentine belt system in most modern vehicles, including the Ford F150. The serpentine belt is a long, continuous belt that is responsible for driving multiple engine accessories, such as the alternator, water pump, and power steering pump.

As the serpentine belt ages and becomes worn, it can cause a variety of problems, including a reduced performance of the power steering pump. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the serpentine belt, including the power steering pump belt, is regularly inspected and replaced as needed to avoid potential problems with the power steering system.

Diagnosis: Visually Inspect the Belt

The inspection of the serpentine belt is quite easy. Carefully see the sign of any wear and tear. Also, inspect the tension of the belt. An excessive tightening or loosening belt can also cause a problem with the power steering pump. If the belt is damaged replace the belt and in case of improper tension of the belt adjust the tension. 

For the guide on how to check and adjust the tension of the serpentine belt watch the video below- How To Check & Adjust Serpentine Drive Belt Tension On Your Car

Solution: Replace the Serpentine Belt

To know how to replace the serpentine belt watch the video and do it accordingly. 

Can I Drive My Ford F150 With A Bad Power Steering Pump?

Yes, you can drive your Ford F150 with a bad power steering pump, but it is not recommended. The power steering pump is responsible for transmitting power to the steering wheel, so if it’s not working correctly, it can make it difficult to steer the car, especially at low speeds or when parking. 

However, you should plan to get it fixed as soon as possible to avoid further damage or safety issues. The average cost for a Ford F-150 power steering pump replacement ranges from $369 to $437, with labor costs estimated between $184 and $232 and parts priced between $185 and $206.


What Is The Lifespan Of A Power Steering Pump?

The lifespan of a power steering pump is typically up to 100,000 miles or more. However, proper maintenance is crucial in achieving this longevity. Regular maintenance and fluid changes can extend the life of the pump and prevent significant issues.

How Do I Reset The Power Steering?

To reset the power steering, turn off the engine and then restart it. This should reset the power steering light. In most cases, the light may come back on briefly, indicating that the computer system suspected a problem due to an error.

What Controls The Power Steering Pump?

The power steering pump is controlled by the vehicle engine via a V-belt. As the engine rotates, it drives the power steering pump, which generates the hydraulic pressure needed by the power steering system to make steering the vehicle easier and more comfortable for the driver.

Signing Off

Well, this is all about Ford F-150 power steering pump problems. Hopefully, this guide will effectively help you to get rid of all the issues related to the power steering pump. If you still face issues with your power steering kindly consult an expert immediately. Cheers!

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William Baldwin

This Is William Baldwin, The Founder & Managing Editor of this website. Me and my team share automotive tips, tricks, and news

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Talha Atta

Talha Atta, a Mechanical Engineer and experienced technical content writer and editor at with a passion for the automotive industry.