BMW 535i GT xDrive Power Steering System Leak Inspection Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

Power Steering System Leak Inspection
The average cost for a BMW 535i GT xDrive power steering system leak inspection is between $44 and $56. Labor costs are estimated between $44 and $56. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
Note about price: The cost of this service or repair can vary by location, your vehicle's make and model, and even your engine type. Related repairs may also be needed. Talk with a RepairPal Certified shop to learn which repairs might be right for you.
Power Steering System Leak Inspection

What is a power steering leak?

Hydraulic power steering systems use a pump to provide pressurized hydraulic fluid so work can be done. The power steering pump pressurizes and circulates power steering fluid through the power steering hydraulic system, allowing the steering wheel to turn with greater ease. This leaves many locations where leaks can occur, and when they do, the system will need to be inspected to discover the source of the leak and recommend a repair.

How does hydraulic power steering work?

Power steering pumps use a rotating motion, and are driven by the engine crankshaft using a drive belt. They create hydraulic pressure, and the hoses transfer the pressure to the steering gear, where it will be used to assist the driver turning the wheels, and the other hose will return the used fluid to be pressurized. This process happens continuously, and the power steering pump will pressurize fluid any time the engine is running.

What are the symptoms of a power steering leak?

Power steering leaks can be evident while the vehicle is being moved, and power steering fluid may be seen on the ground. Intermittent, or failure of power steering assist may occur due to low fluid. Besides the fluid leak, the power steering pump may also begin making a screeching noise.

Can I drive with a power steering leak?

A vehicle can be driven with weeping or leaking power steering components. However, it will be necessary to pay close attention to the power steering fluid level to make sure there's enough fluid for the system to function. If the fluid is actively dripping or pouring out of a leak, a tow truck is recommended to prevent damage to the pump, steering gear, or loss of power steering assist while driving.

How often do power steering leaks occur?

For most vehicles, the power steering system will last well over 100,000 miles before any failures occur. Mechanical failures and leaks in the power steering system are considered usually avoidable if maintenance has been performed according to the manufacturer service intervals. Keeping the power steering fluid fresh, and the system free of contaminants is the key to ensuring long power steering system life. As any system that carries high pressure will, the system will eventually fail from normal wear and tear, but this should be well into the serviceable life of the vehicle.

How are power steering leaks diagnosed?

Since most power steering issues will generate the same symptoms, it would be difficult to diagnose only one part, without understanding the condition of the whole system. When symptoms emerge, the power steering fluid is inspected, and topped off, and the condition, and tension of the power steering pump belt is noted. The system may need to be bled of air prior to diagnosis. Any leaks will become very obvious at that time, and mechanical failure of the power steering pump will be evident from noise, or a pressure gauge inserted into the power steering line. At that time, if no other issues are found, the steering rack or steering gearbox will be suspected of failure. Any dust boots and seals will be inspected for leaks. The rack and pinion gear set will be inspected for sounds typical of mechanical failure. This systematic approach will lead a technician to a diagnosis.

What will be the outcome of the power steering leak diagnosis?

Power steering leaks are corrected by replacing or rebuilding the leaking component. In some more fortunate circumstances, the power steering lines may simply become loose, and will be properly tightened to prevent leaking. In most other situations, the power steering fluid is drained, the defective component is removed, and a rebuilt or new component is installed. Once the system is reassembled, the power steering system is filled with power steering fluid, according to manufacturer specification. Finally, the system is bled of air, and the vehicle will be tested for leaks and other symptoms.

RepairPal Recommendations for power steering leaks

We recommend against any product that claims to stop leaks in the power steering system. These products contain sealants that will become contaminants as they cure in the power steering fluid and build up inside components that are only designed for power steering fluid. This can lead to failing power steering pumps and steering gears, and even cause additional leaks.

What to look out for with power steering leaks

Power steering components are subject to high pressure, high heat, and high speeds. Selecting parts that are built to meet or exceed OEM standards will help ensure the longevity of the power steering hydraulic system. Inferior parts tend to lead to repeated replacement.

Can I diagnose a power steering system leak myself?

Finding and diagnosing a power steering leak can be very easy, or very frustrating. The advanced DIY can generally find the leaking component, but for the most part, the issue will be a mystery. The engine fans can blow power steering around when it leaks, and a leaking pump may cover the reservoir, and lead to an incorrect diagnosis. In some instances, even professional technicians need to use an oil dye to detect the source of a leak. If the leak is not obvious, and the next step is changing parts, consider trusting a professional instead.