Mini Coopers may experience power steering pump failure as the car ages. The power steering pump is responsible for dispersing power steering fluid to the power steering system.
The designers of your Mini Cooper created a unique power steering system known as the electro-hydraulic power-assisted steering system. Since this power steering system is both electric and hydraulic, its unique design allows your vehicle to use less horsepower while still handling its best.
The power steering system makes turning heavyweight machinery, such as Mini Coopers, effortless to the driver. It also improves the steering response in how quickly a car can change direction upon turning the steering wheel.
Warning signs of power steering pump failure
The power steering system is made up of many components including power steering fluid and a power steering pump. The power steering pump is responsible for moving the power steering fluid throughout the entire system to keep it running smoothly. When the power steering pump fails, the following symptoms are obvious to drivers:
Difficulty turning the steering wheel
Moving the steering wheel to make turns, change lanes, or maneuvering your Mini Cooper into tight spots should be effortless to drivers thanks to the power steering system. When the power steering pump fails, your vehicle becomes harder to maneuver around turns, and curves. This delayed response time can become dangerous to the personal safety of drivers and occupants within the vehicle.
Strange noises coming from your vehicle should never be ignored. When the power steering pump fails, drivers may notice a whining or grinding noise. These strange noises may indicate a low level of power steering fluid or a completely failed power steering pump. If you find yourself having to constantly fill your power steering fluid, you must have your Mini Cooper inspected for a fluid leak.
Power steering fluid is responsible for creating a hydraulic link between the front wheels and steering wheel, lubricating all moving parts within the power steering system, and decreasing the amount of effort needed from drivers to turn the steering wheel.
As a driver, you should always inspect your vehicle for any leaking fluids. A rust-colored fluid leaking beneath your vehicle is indicative of a power steering fluid leak. This type of leak should not be ignored and should be inspected by a professional immediately.
Causes of Power Steering Pump Failure
Heat is the enemy of many parts beneath the hood of your Mini Cooper. The buildup of heat is the most common cause of the failure of the power steering pump. The power steering pump is located directly below the exhaust manifold meaning it is close to the road leaving it subject to damage from road debris.
Power steering pump failure can be quite annoying and dangerous to drivers. It is important that if you experience power steering pump failure while you are driving that you do not panic. You will still have some control of your Mini Cooper, it will just be a bit harder to maneuver the vehicle. When you feel the power steering go out, turn on your hazard lights, pull over to a safe location, and call a tow truck to have your vehicle taken to a certified auto repair shop for inspection.
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* Mini Cooper Car image credit goes to: Vladimir Mladenovic.