Question: I have a 2004 Seat Ibiza, which has an intermittent problem with its power steering. The battery is also failing to hold a full charge. As it is electrically driven, could the power steering pump be faulty and causing the battery issue?
I doubt it. Many small cars are use an electrically driven system to reduce the amount of engine power needed for steering assistance, resulting in greater fuel economy and lower emissions. But typically, the alternator, not the battery, powers these pumps so they don’t work without the engine running, in much the same way as a conventional belt driven pump.
The battery – check the charging circuit and alternator. If old or faulty, the alternator might not fully charge the battery, and thus won’t provide enough current for the steering pump.
If the alternator is not the issue, check all wiring from the pump to the vehicle wiring harness. Make sure connections are sound and corrosion free. If the electrics are fine, then the fault probably lies within the pump itself. Changed as a complete set, an ever-expanding range is available from TRW.
The majority of our replacement pumps are simply plug and go and do not need re-programming to the vehicle. You may have heard that only main dealers can change electric power steering pumps, as they have to be re-programmed to the car using the VM’s diagnostic kit. But this only applies to certain VM’s, for example, Peugeot.
However, when an electric power steering pump is changed any diagnostic fault codes in the vehicle system must be cleared before the pump will function correctly.
Remember, when changing any part of the steering system - whether it is the pump or the rack – to avoid contamination, cleanliness is the key word. You must also replace the hydraulic fluid, using for example TRW’s PFS801, and completely bleed the system in accordance with the vehicle manufacturers’ instructions.