Q: I have a 2005 Chrysler Town & Country with 89,000 miles. After an hour or so of highway driving, when I pull into a rest stop, I notice a whine from the engine compartment. If I turn the steering wheel, the whine gets a little louder. Consequently, I suspect the power steering pump to be the culprit. The fluid has never been changed, and I wonder if I should have it flushed and replaced to see if it helps quiet things down or just bite the bullet and have the pump replaced. The whine disappears if I rest the car for a half-hour or so but comes back again after additional steady driving.
A: Get the vehicle into a repair shop as soon as possible to have the car checked for fluid leaks. Steering needs to be in excellent condition to keep the car safe. If the system is not leaking and all components are intact, I would definitely do a flush first. Dirt in the system will make the pump cavitate due to starvation from the reservoir.
Larry Rubenstein is a master technician who owns a North Shore service station. His column appears most Tuesdays. Write to Larry by sending a self-stamped, self-addressed envelope to him c/o the Gloucester Daily Times, c/o Auto Scanner, 36 Whittemore St., Gloucester, MA 01930, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.