BMW 325i Power Steering Pumps and Parts

The BMW 3 Series, manufactured by German automaker BMW, has been in production since 1975 as an entry-level luxury vehicle. The BMW 325i version was introduced under the E46 model and included a six-cylinder engine. Understanding how the power steering pumps and parts work in this BMW will help you find the best replacement parts to fit your needs.

What does a power steering pump do?

When the car is running, the power steering system allows you to drive and make turns with ease. Without the system in place, turning the car is significantly more difficult. BMW 325i parts for the power steering system include the pump, fluid, belt, hoses, and steering gear. The BMW E46 uses a rack and pinion setup for its steering system.

How does a power steering pump work?

When the steering wheel is spun, a small pinion gear slides a toothed rack horizontally, left or right. The front wheels of a vehicle have tie-rods that are attached to the ends of the rack. The engine accessory belt powers the hydraulic pump, thereby forcing fluid throughout the hoses that lead to the pistons in the rack. The rack contains a hydraulic valve that manipulates the pressure in the cylinders based on the speed and force of the pinion gear’s movement. The mechanism of these parts of the power steering pump and system multiply the force needed to steer the car with ease.

What are signs of a broken power steering pump?

Various signs may indicate that the power steering pump has a problem. Replacement of some of the parts may be necessary as well.

  • Noise: The pump will squeal upon starting the car, or it may whine while turning.
  • Hard to Turn: Driving becomes extremely stiff and it is hard to turn the car in either direction.
  • Vibration: A broken drive belt will not provide the right amount of tension for the pump to work properly. The belt can break and fall off the pulley. A steering wheel that vibrates harshly could indicate that there is a broken belt.
  • Fluid Levels: If power steering fluid levels are declining rapidly, there may be a leak in the system. Damage can then occur to the power steering pump if it does not contain an adequate amount of fluid. Check the reservoir hoses and the respective clamps for any signs of leakage.