Power steering fluid is overflowing from reservoir

My power steering pump started to whine when I started it this morning, I popped the hood to see the reservoir overflowing. I turned it off and cleaned up the lines to see if I could spot a leak. Seeing no leak I started it back up and turned the wheel from lock to lock and still no leak but I did get some blue smoke from the exaust

My car has 135000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Experienced mechanics share their insights in answering this question :
You need to check the return filter screen inside the reservoir for blockage with debris. You man need to clean it out. What happens is the returning fluid to the reservoir cannot drain back into the reservoir to be used by the pump motor fast enough and pump is starved for fluid and reservoir overflows.

How to Identify and Fix Common car Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced mechanics :

A few different faults can cause the power steering fluid to overflow. You are correct that a blockage of some sort could cause the system to overflow. The most likely cause would be either a blocked line, a leak in the system allowing air in the suction side, or a failing power steering pump.
The best approach to correct overfilled power steering fluid is to use a turkey baster or a syringe to remove the excess fluid. This is a time-consuming process, but when compared to the alternatives, it is the greatest option.
Your power steering system is sealed, with the fluid circulating in a continuous loop from – and then back to – the fluid reservoir. Power steering fluid doesn`t burn off or evaporate over time, so the only way for the system to become low is if the fluid is leaking somewhere.
On a rarer occasion you may develop a leak from the power steering reservoir cap when the vehicle is shut off. This type of leak will be more common after replacing a component in the vehicle like the power steering fluid cooler. The reason this type of leak develops is from too much air being in the system.
A sure sign of air in the system is what sounds like a mildly disgruntled cat under the hood. This growling will get louder during power steering-intensive movements such as parallel parking. The first thing to check when the power steering starts moaning and groaning is the fluid level.
Bubbles in your power steering fluid: If you see bubbles in your fluid, come see us quickly because you may have a potentially dangerous air leak in your power steering system. Leaky fluid: Because your power steering system depends on a steady, high level of steering fluid being pumped into it, a leak means a problem.
Common signs include leaking power steering fluid, difficulty steering, or noises while turning.
Air bubbles can form in your power steering system in several ways. Most commonly, air pockets form as the result of a leak in one of the steering fluid pressure hoses, a crack in the fluid reservoir, or improper automotive maintenance.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Major Leak of power steering fluid
ANSWER : Hello…it sounds like you have a loose or faulty hose connection. Of course, it is also possible that a coincidental leak developed, for instance in a rusted steel tube on the return side, at the same time that you were doing this repair. A YourMechanic specialist could diagnosis this for you and assist you with the repair of your power steering and inspect your vehicle for leaks.

power steering fluid is leaking
ANSWER : With a power steering fluid leak that big, you certainly should have the vehicle inspected as soon as possible to find the exact cause. Any of the components you listed can be the source of the leak. The power steering pump as well as the rack & pinion steering unit rely on the fluid for lubrication as well as cooling. The whining you hear is from the pump when the fluid runs low or empty. Your issue can be caused by something as simple as a fluid hose right now, but continued ’running dry" of the power steering fluid, can result in damage to both the pump and the rack & pinion unit. If that happens, you can take what may be a repair of a few hundred dollars and turn it into a repair of a couple of thousand dollars.

Power steering fluid groaning noise. Power steering leak?
ANSWER : Hello. A groaning noise is an indication of low power steering fluid. If you had your power steering fluid serviced about 5 months ago and it is making a groaning noise again most likely means your power steering pump has gone bad or your power steering leak has going from minor to moderate. I can tell you that Honda Accords are one of the most common vehicles for a power steering pump leak to occur on and require a pump replacement. If not a leaking pump it could be power steering hose leaking fluid. I suggest that you have a power steering fluid leak inspection done otherwise you will have to keep filling up your power steering reservoir until it is fixed.

https://www.yourmechanic.com/services/power-steering-fluid-is-leaking-inspection

Very loud pop when turning sharp left leaking transmission or power steering fluid where steering column meet rack
ANSWER : Hi there. If everything else has already been installed from the donor vehicle then it sounds like the high pressure hose is all that you need to install. The hardest part of doing this is the routing. One thing you may also want to double check is that the donor vehicle and your 2003 Escape have the same rack. There are different models depending on the model and the size of your wheels. You need to install the pressure line first, but if it does not line up then you may have the wrong rack installed. If you would like some assistance installing this hose, consider YourMechanic, as a certified mechanic can come to you to [replace your high pressure steering hose] https://www.yourmechanic.com/services/power-steering-pressure-hose-replacement

had power steering pump replaced but power steering fluid is leaking
ANSWER : This suggests that you may have a leak somewhere else in your power steering system such as one of the hoses or the rack and pinion system. As you may know, the power steering system is a highly pressurized system that can have as much as 300+psi of pressure in the system at times, so it is not uncommon for these types of leaks to happen. If you’d like to get this fixed, I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose the leak in your power steering system and make the the necessary repairs to fix it.

power steering fluid is spilling between cap and reservoir. Is my pump bad?
ANSWER : Hello, thank you for writing in. The vehicle is likely having issues with the power steering pump. The best way to decide without a doubt is to catch it in the act. You can do this by cleaning off the area, and having someone turn the steering wheel back and forth while you watch the suspected area. When it comes to the cost, consider the labor costs that you will pay in a shop, compare them to others, and compare them to the price of doing it on your own. Replacing the pump is not a terribly complicated fix, but you will want step by step instructions to make sure you are comfortable with the entire procedure. For more help resolving the issue, contact our service department and we would be happy to schedule an appointment.

Noisy power steering wheel, regular fluid used
ANSWER : Hello there. It really depends on what type of regular power steering fluid was put into the vehicle. BMW calls for the standard use of Dexron III fluid which is commonly seen. Most over-the-counter regular power steering fluid are basically automatic transmission fluid with different additives. Other vehicles require special power steering fluid. If one of the special fluids were put in it, this could cause the issue. If the wrong fluid is used, it can cause various power steering system seals and O-ring(s) to fail, which can cause the noise you are describing. If you want to have this looked at, a qualified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, will be able to diagnose your steering wheel noise and perform a power steering fluid service for you if needed.

How much does a used power steering pump cost on average?
ANSWER : Hello. The cost of a used power steering pump will vary depending where it comes from. Some wrecking yard will charge much more than others. From your description of the problem it may not need a pump. It may have a restriction in the system or there may be a bad line or a rack and pinion that is failing.

The system will need to be fully diagnosed in order to know for sure what is going on. If you want to have this power steering issue checked out, consider YourMechanic, as a certified mechanic can come to your home or office to diagnose and repair your power steering pump if necessary.