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Toyota Corolla Power Steering Not Working

Modern vehicles are designed to have easy, smooth, and sensitive steering, allowing drivers to have the highest level of control over their cars. Having 100% control over the vehicle at all times gives you not only comfort but also ensures your safety and that of other motorists on the road. But what would suddenly make a Toyota Corolla’s steering wheel so difficult to turn?

A common issue with Toyota Corolla power steering not working is due to low power steering fluid levels. When the fluid level drops below the recommended level, steering can become stiff or unresponsive. Regularly checking and topping off the power steering fluid can restore smooth steering functionality.

Two male hands on car steering wheel

Another factor that can lead to power steering problems in the Toyota Corolla is a failing power steering pump. The pump is pivotal for circulating the steering fluid, and if it malfunctions, steering assistance may be compromised. Listening for whining noises while steering and checking the pump for leaks or damages can help diagnose and necessitate its replacement.

This article will discuss some of the reasons why your steering wheel might suddenly go stiff and what you can do to remedy the situation.

Electric Power Steering Warning Light on Toyota Corolla

Car warning indicator lights

Just imagine while driving, your steering wheel suddenly becomes stiff, and the power steering warning light suddenly comes on. It can be nerve-wracking!

If you’re not careful, it can lead to instant danger to both yourself and other motorists. If you see the power steering warning light come on, the safest thing to do is stop driving. In some cases, you may be able to make it home carefully. However, it can be challenging to drive safely without your power steering, and it may be safer to have the car towed and repaired.

Toyota Corolla Power Steering Not Working

Nervous female driver

There are a few reasons as to why your power steering might stop working, such as late servicing, worn-out car components, and inadequate maintenance.

Below is a breakdown of some of the main reasons why your Toyota Corolla steering system might give out on you.

Damaged or Broken Serpentine Belt

This is one of the most common causes of your power steering wheel not functioning well. A damaged serpentine belt is a sure way to paralyze the power steering of your Toyota Corolla completely.

The serpentine belt is a part of the steering control that works the most and is, therefore, quickly worn out. It’s essential to check and replace it as often as possible during your general vehicle servicing. This will ensure that it is always in top condition and functioning as it should.

Damaged or Worn-Out Steering Rack

If your steering wheel is not working, it’s probably because of a bad steering rack.

The steering rack is attached to the steering wheel using a series of shafts and U-joints. With everyday usage of your Toyota Corolla, the steering rack becomes worn out or damaged over time. This might be due to constant exposure to high temperatures and road debris.

As part of your power steering system maintenance, you should check and replace the steering rack as often as needed.

Malfunctioned Pump

A malfunctioning power steering pump is another likely reason you have a stiff steering wheel, as it works simultaneously with the steering wheel by producing the pressure needed to turn.

Before you incur the cost that comes with a pump replacement, make sure it is not loose or damaged. It is not safe to drive a car without a properly functioning power steering pump.

Tire Problems

Believe it or not, uneven pressure on different tires can cause your power steering to fail. Your Toyota Corolla power steering may not work if you have one tire with more force than the others.

High or low air pressure coupled with uneven wear or tire treads causes misalignment of your wheels which eventually hardens your steering wheel when making turns on the road.

Toyota Corolla Power Steering Leak

Car power steering fluid

A leak in the power steering fluid will cause a few issues in your driving. This liquid is a specialized fluid, much like your oil or wiper fluid, and needs to be changed every couple of years or 75,000 miles (120,700.8 km). However, should your car sit for long periods, you may find the fluid starting to turn due to lack of use.

Copyright protected article by Know My Auto and was first published on May 8, 2021. .

Let’s take a closer look at the power steering fluid and how it can affect your car.

Toyota Corolla Leaking Power Steering Fluid

Just like your engine needs oil to function, your power steering needs special fluid to work properly. This is not something you may typically check and change yourself, as you might think to do with the oil, and car owners often overlook it. However, leaking power steering fluid, as well as old and degraded fluid, will severely damage the power steering and prevent it from working.

Toyota Corolla Power Steering Fluid Location

Low power steering fluid can lead to noisy, jerky, and hard-to-turn steering wheels. You will often find that it does not stop entirely but simply stops working effectively – until it runs out altogether.

Fluid leakage from a loose or damaged hose pipe decreases the amount of fluid needed for the system’s pressure and lubrication of the pump, stiffening your steering wheel. You have to constantly check the hydraulic fluid in your Toyota Corolla to maintain the proper functioning of the steering wheel.

To locate and fill up the fluid:

  1. Wait until the car is completely cold and the engine is switched off.
  2. Open the hood and locate the plastic reservoir named “power steering.”
  3. Clean the outside with a cloth to judge the level of fluid in the tank.
  4. If the fluid is below the marked lines, fill up with extra replacement power steering fluid.

Toyota Corolla Thickened Power Steering Fluid

Just like any other liquid, power steering fluid can go bad over time and become thick with continued use, making it hard for it to function correctly and lubricate the parts effectively.

Each part of the steering system should perform in harmony with the others for the power steering to work efficiently. To avoid complications due to thickened steering fluid, ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on what brand to use and when to change your power steering fluid.

If you followed the steps above and found that the tank has adequate fluid but is still not working, chances are it has become stuck. You should be able to see this when you open the lid.

In this case, the only solution is to drain the bad fluid and refill it anew. The process is straightforward for you to DIY, but if you have any doubts, book an appointment with your Toyota Service Center.

Toyota Corolla Electric Power Steering Problems

Car power steering fluid

A well-functioning Toyota Corolla power steering system allows a driver to maneuver a car easily with minimal effort. Power steering problems can present in a few ways, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for to identify and fix the issues sooner rather than later.

Look out for the following signs that indicate a potential defect to your power steering system.

A Squealing or Whining Sound

If you hear this sound when starting, turning, or driving your Toyota Corolla, it is indication enough that your car will soon stop moving. Abnormal whining or squealing sounds intensify while speeding or as the steering wheel turns.

A loose belt or a faulty power steering pump may be the cause of this unusual sound that your car is making.

Hard To Turn Steering Wheel

Because of insufficient power steering fluid, a worn-out pump, or a leak in the power steering system, you may be forced to use more effort than usual. If you have ever driven a car without power steering, you’ll know it can be challenging to maneuver and turn the wheel, needing a lot of effort to get it moving.

Vibration From the Steering Wheel

It may come as a surprise when your steering wheel suddenly starts pulsating back and forth while idle. In most cases, a crack in the serpentine belt will cause vibration on the steering wheel. If you feel this, take your car to the garage as soon as possible and try not to drive it in the meantime.

The copyright owner of this article is and was first published on May 8, 2021..

Slow Steering Wheel Response

As you drive your Toyota Corolla and notice your car is not responding as expected to your command, there may be an issue with your power steering pump or other steering components. This will need immediate attention to avoid accidents.

Insufficient Power Steering Fluid

Usually red or red-brown, the fluid may be generally low, or due to a pump leakage, the fluid decreases. As it is a crucial component of the pump, the liquid should be within the proper range as indicated on the reservoir.

A pump working on a low-power steering fluid will squeal and whine while turning the wheel.

Contaminated Power Steering Fluid

The presence of metal flakes resulting from metal rubbing on metal or corrosion in the power steering pump is a big issue. Moreover, a change of fluid color from red or red-brown to gray due to oxidation indicates the fluid will not function as it should. Check your fluid regularly and flush the tank out right away if you see any metal flakes inside.

Tips on Maintaining Your Toyota Corolla Power Steering Wheel

Car mechanic in shop

Here are some tips to help you keep your Toyota Corolla power steering system in good condition and avoid any unwanted surprises:

  • Check and ensure all your tires are equally inflated. You will find the appropriate numbers the manufacturer recommends in PSI (pound per square inch) in the manual.
  • Keep the power steering fluid at an accurate level at all times. The cylindrical reservoir is marked with a minimum and maximum level. Ensure that the liquid is also in good condition. The liquid should be red, so it is time for a change if it is too dark.
  • Regularly inspect your power steering unit for cracks, leaks, or damages. Check the pulley belt for proper tension and ensure it is in good condition, having no cracks or frayed edges.
  • Ensure that your car has proper front-end alignment. Inspect the ball joints and tie rod ends for lubrication and wear. Irregular front tire wear will make you pull to one side when driving.
  • Regularly inspect your power steering pump for any damages. Have it replaced by a mechanic if need be, as it is not safe to drive with a malfunctioned pump.

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KnowMyAuto is the sole owner of this article was published on May 8, 2021 and last updated on .