Is it damaging to a car to drive it when the power steering is out?

My 2004 Cadillac Deville has been a fun car (lots of problems). Recently I came out and saw a puddle of power steering fluid under my car, I'm assuming the line cracked due to being 16 years old and outside for cold winters. But, I'm not fully sure what is wrong with it, that is just my assumption. It seems like an expensive fix and I don't really have the money for that at the moment, so I'm wondering if it is safe (for the car) to drive it in the mean time.

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  • 1 week ago
    Favorite Answer

      I don't mean to question your assessment of the situation, but are you certain that the fluid under your car is indeed power steering?  Did you check your resevoirs and find that the P/S is the only one that is empty?  I just ask because the last thing I want to do is to tell someone that it is safe to drive, only for them to find out that the fluid was actually brake fluid.  I hope you understand my point of view.

      At any rate, if the leak is indeed  P/S fluid, driving the vehicle would be safe, but would likely damage the P/S pump by running it dry.  Destroying the pump would mean replacing it when fixing the power steering.  Even if the pump is the source of the leak and must be replaced anyways, it is best not to destroy the pump because if you decide to fix the leak, the pump will likely be needed for a "core charge" refund.  If you must drive with an empty P/S, it might be possible to by-pass the P/S pump by using a shorter drive belt, but that depends on the configuration of the accessories driven by the belt.

      A word of caution to others who may read this, while this advice may work for a 2004 Cadillac Deville, some GM products equipped with turbochargers use hydro-boost brakes.  In those systems, no P/S means no brakes.  And when I say no brakes, I don't mean that the power brakes are inoperable, I mean complete and total loss of brakes.

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  • zipper
    Lv 6
    5 days ago

    It will be harder to steer safely, and you could have an accident because of that. So the true answer is it mite cause damage!

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  • Anonymous
    1 week ago

    Pop open the hood. You are allowed to be in there...to check to see the hamsters are fed and on their wheels.

     When you pop open the hood on the drivers side of the engine is the power steering pump container.  Unscrew the cap and under it is a dip stick.  Your engine may have to run to get a proper reading.    If so, let the engine idle and then remove the cap and read the level on the dipstick.   You may need to add more PS fluid.   Sometimes the seals leak a bit.  Just add a bit more fluid.   No power steering and you will notice right away because you can NOT STEER.   A leak after 16 years is not unusual.

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  • 1 week ago

    Not necessarily harmful - just dangerous.  If you need to make a quick maneuver, but are stuck wrestling with dead power steering, you may not be able to avoid a wreck.

    Get some quotes to fix it.

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  • 1 week ago

    Driving without power steering isn't harmful as such. Driving with the condition that caused the power steering to fail is often harmful.

    Being 16 years old in a winter climate DID NOT burst a power steering line without additional poor maintenance.

    • Anon
      Lv 6
      1 week agoReport

      Rubbish. If fluid low, can burn out pump.. Harsh, Rust Belt  winters and road salt corrode.

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  • 1 week ago

    When the power steering doesn't work you will have a hard time steering.

    many times a leak may be the transmission fluid leaking so make sure to check the ATF level and the PS pump reservoir.

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  • Ron
    Lv 7
    1 week ago

    Okay Lance Armstrong. Give that a try. After the first effort to take a left out your driveway, you'll realize just how much you need PS

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  • Anonymous
    1 week ago

    No, it will just build up your arm muscles.

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  • 1 week ago

    Could be the pipe, could be the rack, could be the pump, no-one will know without looking at it. It might simply be a loose connection.  Do make sure it's not the brakes.

    Anyway, it's not good for the PS pump to run without fluid, it'll soon overheat and begin to fail.

    I'd look at it, or get someone to look at it, pdq.

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  • 1 week ago

    Never ever buy a Cadillac. Every car purchase is a bad investment but one of the worst is a Cadillac. All they do is break and the parts to fix it cost an arm and a leg.

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