Yet another case of G.M.P.S.S: General Motors Power Steering Syndrome

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 1993

Dear Tom and Ray:

OK you two, let's see you answer this one. I have a 1985 Chevy Celebrity, and my brother has a 1984 Buick Century. We both seem to have the same problem with our power steering. When we first start our cars on cold mornings, the steering is as stiff as can be. As we run the cars, this stiffness gradually goes away. What can be causing this?

RAY: Have you both been locked away in some Siberian prison for the last decade, Don? This is probably the most famous General Motors problem of the 1980's. We call it G.M.P.S.S: General Motors Power Steering Syndrome.

TOM: From about 1979 on, General Motors made defective power steering racks. And when they failed, this is exactly what happened. The steering is stiff when the rack and pinion is cold, and gradually loosens up as the power steering fluid gets warm. It's only going to get worse, and in our opinion, it's dangerous.

RAY: It costs about $400-$500 to fix, but GM has agreed to replace these power steering racks FOR FREE on cars less than five years old and with fewer than 50,000 miles on them. It doesn't sound like you or your brother qualify, Don, but call and ask anyway. Try that Siberian prison story. Maybe they'll fall for it.

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