Heavy power steering


I have an issue with the steering on my 2006 2.0 sport with 54,000 miles

I have owned the car for 5 years and only done around 3000 miles in that time, it only comes out on sunny days. It has ‘traditional power steering’ that I have noticed getting stiffer over the last year, I’ve not hit anything ie a curb and all four tyres are the same premium brand with the correct PSI.

The steering is heavy esp noticed during manoeuvres, I have changed the fluid then the pump without any difference

Any thoughts/suggestions welcome.


After such little use over a long time I would suspect the brakes are partially seized making the steering feel heavy. Mine seized up completely during lockdown & the steering was understandably terrible as a consequence. It turned out that somebody had previously used copper grease on the slider pins effectively gluing everything up & rendering the brakes useless. So a new set of calipers on & all is well again. I was going to rebuild the old ones but new ones are so cheap it really wasn’t worth the hassle.

Thanks for your reply however I have checked and all four are free

Have you changed the Filter and could the swivel Ball Joints have become dry with inactivity.
Are you sure the pump drive belt has sufficient tension.

Hi - update

When I changed the pump I also fitted a new belt, it has a spring loaded tensioner so no adjustment

I had the car on jack stands yesterday and removed the engine undertray (that was a bit of a swine to get off, far to many bolts)

I checked the tyre presures and the free spinning of the wheels - no issues

There are no leaks, i turned the wheels lock to lock for about five minutes and no air came out, I started the engine and repeate the process with the same outcome.

It takes almost the same amount of force to turn the steering whith the engine running or not, its almost as if the car does not have power steering.

I lubricated the UJ from the column shaft to the rack - just in case.

Could it still be airlocked ? or do I need a new rack ?

Thanks Ian

I believe any hydraulic system which is double acting self bleeds and uses hydraulic fluid with a built in anti froth agent, you have done enough to clear any air from the system…
I ask again have you changed the Filter and also could the Tensioner Spring be weak.
Other than that it would be a control valve problem and or faulty seals.

Thank you for your reply.
To answer your question, what filter ? Where is it ? As for your other suggestions if it’s not the filter, I guess I will need to remove the rack and get it re-cond

I am confident that there is a filter in the reservoir.
Try to buy one if they do not exist i will be proven wrong and apologize in advance.

99.9999% sure there isn’t a filter…

Hi ChrisMK3,
You are correct , change your post to 100% and i apologize for my misleading comment.

Just trying to think of possibilities …

Sufficient fluid?
If you cleared an airlock, you would have needed to top up to compensate.
Is the belt actually turning the pump?
Could one ot the pulleys have sheared??
Is it the correct fluid for this particular application?

If everything is normal after considering @999to5’s points above, the only remaining thing that could have failed could be the rack itself.

The PAS system on the NC (as it is with most modern vehicles), is extremely reliable but something can always go wrong inside.

Have any of the PAS lines/hoses been changed, if so, are they all correct for the car?

Are any of the metal union joins on the high pressure hoses dented, crimped, bent or otherwise?

Any signs of bulging or stress?

Was the pump new or re-con’d? Fluid - which specific fluid did you use?

Failing all of the above, I can draw no other conclusion than assuming that the rack itself has gone awry, lack of use is never ideal for any machine, an internal seal could have failed… Truth be told, there’s not too much else to go wrong with them other than seals failing.

I’d either try to get one from a breakers yard or get a price for having yours refurbished.

Where abouts in the country are you?

Hi to all that have offered word of wisdom
I have checked the fluid level after bleeding and I have used the correct spec PS fluid not ATF fluid., none of the hoses etc have been changed or damaged
I have just bought a ‘used’ rack from a rear end damaged 2007 2.0 sport with 35,000 miles.
I have looked at what is involved in changing it and the front bolts are easy to get at but the back ones less so. Plus one of the PS lines looks a tad tricky but hopefully not too bad

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I would be interested to know how easily the wheels swivel once the Track Rod Ends have been disconnected.

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In my experience, with both front wheels off the ground and the engine not running, you should be able to quite easily turn the wheels lock to lock by grabbing one of the wheels themselves and doing just that. Without the resistance on the road, everything should move nice and freely

I did turn the wheels whilst up in the air and they did appear to move easily, I will however double check when I detach the track rod ends prior to removing the rack

Had same problem with my 2008 NC - 58000 miles
Got 12 month warranty from Mazda dealer (TW White) I purchased it from so took it back to them.
They did all the power steering fault checks with no problems found.
They then disconnected the track rod ends AND the steering column so that they could check the rack itself and sure enough the rack had a (unspecified) fault which created too much ‘stiction’
New rack fitted fitted (at a cost of £700+ to the warranty company, [RAC]) and steering is now as it should be.

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Uh oh… This might turn out expensive @ihs61

Hi all

Thanks for your comments, I will attacking the car at the weekend with the first job being disconnecting the track rod ends, then checking how free the column and wheels turn before changing the rack

Thanks Ian

I was chatting with son in law recently because he’s about to scrap his old Volvo. His very good mechanic showed him too many other problems on it after a quick fix for his power steering. In that the yoke support spring had become clogged with gunge and had no flex, and so jammed when the rack moved out of the more worn central patch.

The symptom was free movement for an inch or two of rack travel but much tighter thereafter.

The fix. Undo the cover cap, spring and fluid fall into your face, clean sediment and put spring and cover-cap-adjuster back and top up fluid. I don’t know if the NC is the same, but there is some commonality in the basic design.