How To Check And Change Your Power Steering Fluid

Author: Levi Quinn
Water, oil and gasoline are not the only fluids your automobile needs to function properly. Power steering fluid is also important if you want to retain the ability to properly steer your vehicle while driving. This fluid is essential for protecting your entire steering system and its pump. Let it run low or dry and you might find yourself in need of costly repairs.

Keeping the power steering fluid topped off is always a good idea. It is also important to replace the fluid when it becomes old. A color that is much darker than fresh power steering fluid will indicate the need for a change.If you do not want to pay a shop to top off power steering fluid or replace it, you can do both jobs on your own.

To add power steering fluid to your system, follow these steps:
Purchase the right fluid for your car – Make sure to check your manual for power steering fluid recommendations. Purchase the right kind of fluid.

Locate the reservoir – The power steering fluid reservoir will likely be clearly labeled. If it is not, look for the belts in the engine compartment and keep looking for a pulley-driven pump. There will be a plastic or metal reservoir on top of this pump.

Check the levels and fill – The reservoir will be clear in color and have fill lines printed directly on it or it will operate with a dipstick system. If the latter is the case, pull out the dipstick and wipe it off. Then put it back into the fluid and pull it out to read the level. Do inspect the color of the fluid. If it is much darker than standard, a full replacement is probably in order. If it is not, go ahead and use a funnel to fill the fluid up to the fill line and then replace the cap.

Now, if you discovered the fluid color was off, it is time for a change. To perform this, follow these steps:
Locate the power steering fluid reservoir – Follow the steps above to do this. Once you have the location, check to see if you have clear access to the reservoir hose. If you do not, you may need to temporarily detach the overflow tank from the radiator. The hose itself will be on the bottom of the reservoir tank.

Remove the hose – Once you can access the reservoir hose, go ahead and remove it. Replace the hose with a longer one that is connected to an empty container that will store the old fluid.

Jack up the car – With the hose now connected, jack up the front end of the car to make the flow of old fluid go more smoothly.

Add new fluid into the reservoir – To flush out the system, start adding new fluid into the reservoir. This action will force the old fluids out of the system. As this is filling, crank the steering wheel inside the car a few times in both directions to squeeze old fluids out. Do watch the catch container for the presence of new fluids. When you see clean fluid enter the disposal container, the flushing is done.

Reconnect the hoses – Once the old fluid is out of the system, go ahead and remove the draining hose and put the correct hose back in place. Put the radiator tank back in place if it needed to be removed, as well.
Fill it up – With everything back where it belongs, go ahead and refill the power steering reservoir to the fill line and then replace the cap.

Keeping up with power steering fluid levels and required changes can help prevent damage down the road. To avoid costly repairs, it is best to check this system per manufacturer recommendations.
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