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Strange Power Steering Issue

Illustration for article titled Strange Power Steering Issue

Yesterday, I hopped in my car, a 2012 Chevy Cruze with the 1.8 NA engine. I had just pulled out of the driveway into the street when the power steering vanished, leaving me blocking the road, fortunately in the way of exactly 0 cars.

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At first, I though maybe the steering lock had engaged, so I shuffled it from park to drive to neutral a few times and turned the car off. When I turned it on, it just didn’t even try to crank at first. After poking around with the gear selector, it started again. I then laboriously backed up my driveway, making a 30 point turn to get under the car port.

After I got back from my appointment 3 hours later, borrowing a different car of course, I poked around under the hood. My first thought was to check the belts, which were all intact. Then, the fluid levels, but somehow there just doesn’t seem to be a reservoir for power steering fluid. I can’t even trace a line from the pump

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Illustration for article titled Strange Power Steering Issue

Diagrams show a reservoir behind the airbox for the 1.4 turbo, but nothing for the 1.8.

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Then, strangely enough, I cranked the car and the power steering worked. Eventually, I noticed that the electric compass in the digital speedo simply said CAL, or calibrating as I presume. This seems to indicate a sudden electrical fault rather than a fault with the pump itself.

The battery is over 6 years old, which seems to indicate it may have been an intermittent charge issue? It had been sitting a while, but it also cranked up after only a few minutes of idling and shut off, so what on earth happened?

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EDIT: This guy seems to have had a similar problem with an old battery, but his power steering didn’t start working again. Any ideas? The Real Bicycle Buck posted this at the same time, so shout out.

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EDIT: It seems confirmed as a battery issue, thank goodness. Looks like I need to replace it in the immediate future.

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