Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Long Does a Power Steering Fluid Reservoir Last?

Power Steering Fluid Reservoir

Most cars today use a hydraulic power steering system, although many new models are now coming equipped with an electronic system. In a hydraulic power steering system, power steering fluid is pumped through the lines to the rack, where it helps reduce the effort needed to turn the steering wheel. Because it’s hydraulic, power steering fluid must be stored in quantity so the system can operate. This is done with the power steering fluid reservoir.

Open your hood and you should see the power steering fluid reservoir installed at the power steering pump. It should be translucent white plastic (and will have either a red or black cap). You can see the level of the fluid through the side of the reservoir, and there are level lines denoting when the reservoir is full, when the level is safe, and when it’s low.

Your power steering fluid reservoir is in use constantly – even when the engine is off. The primary purpose here is to simply store the fluid used by the system, providing a place for the pump to draw fluid from, and for fluid to return to once it’s been sent through the rack and lines. It’s not mechanical, but it is subjected to a lot of heat, which will eventually cause the reservoir to need replacement. With that being said, there’s no specific lifespan for your reservoir.

If the power steering fluid reservoir fails, it can lead to a number of problems. Obviously, power steering fluid will leak at the failure point. This is a serious problem, as power steering fluid is flammable and can ignite if it leaks onto a hot surface. Additionally, it can cause low fluid levels for the system, which can damage the power steering pump and also make it difficult to steer the car.

The best defense against a failing reservoir is to have it inspected at each oil change (you can also inspect it visually when you check your oil level or any other time you open the hood). It also pays to know a few signs to watch for that indicate the reservoir is in danger of failure, including:

  • Cracks or deterioration in the body of the reservoir
  • Low fluid levels (which indicates a leak somewhere in the system, including the reservoir)
  • Obvious fluid leaks from the reservoir or power steering fluid on the pump

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s very important to have your reservoir replaced. A certified mechanic can help to inspect, diagnose and replace the reservoir.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222 code means The manufacturer specifies a range of acceptable voltage to be produced from the throttle position...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...

Related questions

Q: Burning oil?

Hi there. It sounds like your car has an oil issue. It sounds like it can be a combination of issues. I would usually get the vehicle in the air to check for leaks first. If it was just burning...

Q: Power steering noises when turning steering wheel

Hello. Changing the transmission fluid will not help to quiet down the power steering pump. If you meant to say that you were going to change the power steering fluid then that may help. I usually start by checking the...

Q: Transmission making clunking and banging noises - 2005 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 V8 Automatic

Check for problem codes - you mention that the Check Engine Light is on. This could be the torque convertor clutch not releasing as you slow down, or not locking up smoothly when you reach 40-50 mph accelerating. And yes,...