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Discussion Starter #1
I pulled in to a parking lot yesterday and as I approached the parking space, my battery light came on and the power steering stopped working. I pulled forward, reversed back, pulled forward, reversed back, and then pulled forward again. At the last pull forward, the car physically shook and the battery light went of and an audible "click" happened and the power steering came on all at the same time. It has worked fine this morning and again last night after the incident but I'm terrified it will happen again. I haven't seen this problem before so any help would be appreciated. It is :
2004 Element LX AWD
138,000 miles
Regular oil changes
Flushed and refilled the power steering fluid earlier this year.
Thanks!
C
 

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My first thought is that something prevented the serpentine belt from turning and thus no power steering and no alternator (causing the battery light to go on). Not sure off the top of my head what would cause it to temporarily do this and then start turning again. Any idea when the belt was last inspected or replaced?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Inpections

I have inspections done (27 point dealer inspection) every time I go to get an oil change, but I'm not sure if they look at the serpentine belt. I will have them check it out today. It was rainy and wet yesterday so I'm not sure if that played a role in it. Thanks for the advice!
 

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sounds like a belt issue...or something with the A/C compressor if you were running the defroster. (The A/C compressor would account for the "click")
 

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07 2wd 5-speedauto
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Water splashed on the belt?
 

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2005 Honda Element EX AWD
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How dark does the ps fluid look? If its like a stout beer, it's time to replace it. You can do it yourself quite easily. First recommendation I would have is see where the level is at on the reservoir. Then again, maybe the serpentine belt was slipping, but usually that would make a horrible squealing noise. Keep us informed as to the fix.
 

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How dark does the ps fluid look? If its like a stout beer, it's time to replace it. You can do it yourself quite easily. First recommendation I would have is see where the level is at on the reservoir. Then again, maybe the serpentine belt was slipping, but usually that would make a horrible squealing noise. Keep us informed as to the fix.
The OP said they changed the PS fluid earlier this year, so I'm assuming it is fine and PS pump problems alone I don't think would have caused the battery light to come on, which I presume was due to a simultaneous temporary failure of the alternator. I'm sticking with my theory of the serpentine belt slipping or otherwise temporarily failing and the wet conditions increases my suspicion of this, although I've had my E get plenty wet and never had such an issue and am not sure exactly how or why this would occur. I would check you service records for the car and if the belt is even close to being due for replacement, I would do it and hopefully a fresh belt will eliminate such a problem in the future.
 

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imtheatre, please come back and let us know what the problem was once you get it diagnosed!

I had something similar happen to my van last summer while I was on a road trip and it turned out to just be a slipped belt. It was too damaged to put back on while I was on the trip, so I ended up just cutting it off and driving without power steering for about 6 months. Don't think that would work with an Element, though. :006:
 

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The OP said they changed the PS fluid earlier this year, so I'm assuming it is fine and PS pump problems alone I don't think would have caused the battery light to come one, which I presume was due to a simultaneous temporary failure of the alternator. I'm sticking with my theory of the serpentine belt slipping or otherwise temporarily failing and the wet conditions increases my suspicion of this, although I've had my E get plenty wet and never had such an issue and am not sure exactly how or why this would occur. I would check you service records for the car and if the belt is even close to being due for replacement, I would do it and hopefully a fresh belt will eliminate such a problem in the future.
/\ This. the problem is not your power steering pump, it's the belt that drives the power steering pump and the alternator that is slipping.
 
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