Some 2002-05 General Motors cars with 2.2-liter engines may momentarily lose power steering assist on startup when the ambient temperature falls below 10°F.
According to GM, the power steering function usually returns after a few seconds of driving and is due to design flaws in the power steering pump. Replacing the pump with an upgraded design, part No. 26091879, should eliminate further trouble. Be aware that the new pump doesn't come with a reservoir and cap, so you need to swap those parts from the old to the new unit.
Vehicles that are susceptible to the condition are 2002-04 Olds Aleros; 2002-05 Chevy Cavaliers and Pontiac Grand Ams and Sunfires; and 2004-05 Chevy Classics.
"Factory Fixes" is written by Jim DePalma, a 30-year veteran of the auto repair business who has served stints as a service manager, parts manager and ASE-certified technician. His column provides vehicle manufacturers' authentic factory technical service bulletins (TSBs) that have been condensed for easier reading. Mr. DePalma advises that techs always check with a dealer or repair information system for the latest revisions before starting to work on a vehicle. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].