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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello there. We have only had our 2009 Element for two weeks. Three times when turning off of a road, into a parking lot, and driving through a minimal puddle from rain, we have temporarily lost the power steering. It only lasts for a few seconds, but is scary.
We called the dealer and he says it is common in Elements, CRVs and one other (don't remember which.) He says the water is kicking up on the power steering belt.
Is this your experience? Have you heard of this? He says we can bring it in if we want...

We love the vehicle otherwise. Hope that this isn't the beginning of dissapointing vehicle and dealer experience.
 

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Welcome, Pegelian.

The Element doesn't have a belt just for the power steering; a single serpentine belt runs the ps, alternator, a/c. It's possible water could cause the belt to slip, but I haven't heard of that happening before. If it slipped for more than a second, I'd expect the charging system light (battery) to come on.

The plastic cover under the front end should protect the belt from casual splashes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for replying Ramblerdan.
I guess I am so busy "fighting" the steering, that I don't see any lights come on :smile:
You know, about the plastic cover...It doesn't look like we have anything there to protect the engine. You can look all the way into the engine above the tire. As a matter of fact, you can see daylight on the other side of the vehicle.

Otherwise, we really love the vehicle. We almost got one in 2004, and were finally in a position to get one now. We have a Scion XB and now the element... We are a little "boxy" don't you know?!
 

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I had the same thing happen to me twice in the last month on my 03. I freaked out a bit as I was turning into traffic when it happened. That was what told me it was time to change my serpentine belt as it has not happened to me before in the last 5 years. I know what you're saying about nothing being in the way of water splashing up in there. Both times it was caused by driving into a pot hole filled with water. There is a bit of a squeal and no power steering, put in park, wait a moment and then good to go again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I hope that it isn't a serpentine belt issue, since we have only had the vehicle a few weeks (brand new). I took some pictures to show how open the area behind the tire appears to be. First time figuring out how to post pics, so, hope I get this right... These are pictures with the camera resting on each front tire. See how you can see all the way through? That is daylight on the other side. I am wondering if, when they installed the mud flaps, they left off any kind of covering? That would allow the water from puddles (I am talking less that 2 inches of water in the puddles) to fly up in there? What do you guys think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ramblerdan,

Hello there,
It was only a theory. I am taking my Element into the shop tomorrow (setting appointment now).
I just know that it shouldn't be loosing the power steering on small (less than 2 inches deep) puddles, as I turn into various parking lots. I thought that maybe I just didn't somehow "understand" a common driving event , and when the mechanic said that it is common in Elements, CRVs and Odyssys, I thought I would check on here first.
Tangboy suggested the serpentine belt, as he had similar experience after 5 years of ownership. It may be where they begin tomorrow. I have only had it for such a short time, I hope they cover the cost.
Any additional thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks.
 

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Good job on the pics, that is what mine looks like. There is some correlation between turning and the loss of steering. I don't know if the turned tire aides in water entering, or if the tire is flinging it in there, but either way water gets on the pulley or the belt and it slips for a moment. It doesn't harm anything, just freaks you out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The dealers shop put it up on the lift, looked at it, and sprayed some belt dressing on the belt. He said that it is a common occurence, he gets complaints/concerns about twice a month. They didn't find anything wrong or obvious. He looked up service bulletins and found nothing about this issue. He said that the open area above the tire is how they are made (my bad, just a theory anyway). No charge for this, and he did appear to take my concerns seriously.
I left and drove through every puddle I could find, and didn't have the problem. I don't know that I was able to replicate the exact circumstance, but felt better anyway.
When I bring it in for the first oil change they will look at it again, unless I bring it in sooner. Hope that this is the last time I have the issue.
Tangboy5000 and Ramblerdan thanks for your input.
 

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Checking in with folks. I just started having this same issue with my Honda Element. After 10 years my mechanic changed the serpentine belt just due to age as a preventative maintenance. Now, I have the identical issue, only when turning and thru a puddle. Turn into a road or parking lot. I did find out my mechanic did not apply any belt dressing. I am going to take back to mechanic to apply some and see if it works as the person in the posting stated it did for them. Has anyone else had and resolved this same problem ?
 

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Hello!

I currently have this issue and I've replaced my serpentine belt twice in the last 20k or so miles just out of curiousity on it being the issue. However, it is not! I'm getting really tired of it as I've had the car for almost 70k miles (currently 156k on it) and have had the issue for the entire time. I'm fairly certain there was no belt dressing applied both times and was seeing if you've had yours dressed since your post was made? If so, did it work to resolve your issue?

On a side note, I need to get a replacement splash guard for under the engine since mine is apparently missing and I'm sure that's the cause for it happening in the most minor of puddles lol.
 

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The dealers shop put it up on the lift, looked at it, and sprayed some belt dressing on the belt. He said that it is a common occurence, he gets complaints/concerns about twice a month. They didn't find anything wrong or obvious. He looked up service bulletins and found nothing about this issue. He said that the open area above the tire is how they are made (my bad, just a theory anyway). No charge for this, and he did appear to take my concerns seriously.
I left and drove through every puddle I could find, and didn't have the problem. I don't know that I was able to replicate the exact circumstance, but felt better anyway.
When I bring it in for the first oil change they will look at it again, unless I bring it in sooner. Hope that this is the last time I have the issue.
Tangboy5000 and Ramblerdan thanks for your input.
Belt dressing is not fixing it, just hiding the problem. Dressing will collect more dirt and cause more issues later on. Replacing the belt is probably the way to go. You may have to replace worn out belt tensioner pulley as well.
 
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