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We bought a used 2014 Honda Pilot. The power steering in really stiff but only at slow speeds. No leaks, no whines or noises. We have heard it could be a power steering pump issue and need to replace the pump and have also heard it could be the tensioner not holding enough tension. Both are pricey repairs so we are looking for any advice on which repair to pursue first.
 

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well you also forgot the other part ..rack and pinion when they fail you get the same issue other than the pump . may want to check that also ..
 

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2020 Highlander XLE 2012 Honda Pilot EX-L
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well you also forgot the other part ..rack and pinion when they fail you get the same issue other than the pump . may want to check that also ..
Yes I can attest here, my 2012 had the rack replaced at 70k, the steering always seemed underboosted until I had that done, I'm talking since taking delivery as a new vehicle. It happens.
 

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A sage and wisened engineer once shared that a hydraulic system will last forever if kept clean inside. For the Pilot, that means that the power steering fluid gets replaced regularly. Ours is on a schedule coincident with brake fluid replacement, so every two years max. The brake system is the other major hydraulic system on the car, after the automatic gearbox and the power steering. All deserve very regular fluid change services.

The power steering pump is a rather simple sliding-vane pump with an internal pressure bypass. Little phenolic plastic plates slide on slots in a rotating drum as it spins in a larger casing. Those plates/vanes wear slowly, and shed their dust through the system. It may interfere with the internal bypass valve, and may also interfere with the spool valve in the steering rack. Either will cause the loss of assist reported, especially at low engine speeds. A full flush of the steering system should include actually running the engine with a fluid supply and a catch can plumbed in where the existing reservoir sits. But just a regular turkey-baster removal of the reservoir fluid and replacement with new will help a lot, and is simple and not nearly as messy. If you already have the symptom though, a full flush and replace may be in the cards for you. For sure it's a way cheaper thing to try before replacing the rack itself.

For those playing along at home, change those fluids regularly!
 
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The turkey baster method and low cost of the fluid makes this partial fluid swap one of the easiest to perform on any vehicle... unless your power steering reservoir is hidden under the plastic engine cover like my Traverse!
 

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I just wonder how many of us are driving around with failed PS pumps or racks.
Is this test applicable?
 

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I just wonder how many of us are driving around with failed PS pumps or racks.
Is this test applicable?
I have a manual steering vehicle similar in weight to the Pilot (61 Impala). You would know. Failing? Maybe that would be hard to detect as it loses a little bit of assist over time. But failed? For sure, these tiny steering wheels would be a huge pain to turn.
 

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I have a manual steering vehicle similar in weight to the Pilot (61 Impala). You would know. Failing? Maybe that would be hard to detect as it loses a little bit of assist over time. But failed? For sure, these tiny steering wheels would be a huge pain to turn.
I believe their may be a chance that a Honda pump may be turning without noise, but not necessarily making pressure.
 
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