What is power steering fluid all about?
Power steering fluid flows through the power steering hydraulic system. The system is pressurised by the power steering pump and by way of valves, plungers, or pistons decreases the effort needed by the driver to turn the steering wheel. When the pump stops pumping, the pressure drops and the power steering system loses its hydraulic pressure.
As components in the steering system wear, metal particles will contaminate the fluid, which will cause seals in the system to leak and components to eventually fail. Checking the fluid level and changing the fluid at regular intervals recommended by the manufacturer is important for the life of the hoses, pistons, valves, seals, and the power steering pump itself.
Keep in mind:
- Pouring in the wrong fluid or overfilling the system can cause expensive damage. The mechanic will need to consult the vehicle owner's or service manual.
- If the fluid is low, the mechanic will check the hoses, fittings, and clamps for leaks.
How it's done:
- Empty the power steering reservoir
- Fill with the correct type and quantity of new fluid
- Bleed the power steering system/clean up any residual fluid
- Test operation of power steering
- Check for any power steering leaks
Consider getting a power steering flush once every 3-4 years.
What are the common symptoms indicating you need to replace the power steering fluid?
- Groaning noise from the power steering pump or steering gear
- Difficulty in turning the steering wheel
- Contaminated fluid (brown/black)
How important is this service?
Changing your power steering fluid at manufacturer recommended intervals, will ensure continued system performance and extended service life. It is a part of scheduled maintenance services and will sae you the trouble of major repairs down the road.