What to know about the power steering fluid:
Power steering fluid flows through the power steering hydraulic system. The system is pressurized by the power steering pump and by way of valves, plungers, or pistons decreases the effort required 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 mechanisms in the steering system wear, metal particles will contaminate the fluid, which will cause seals in the system to leak and mechanisms to eventually fail. Checking the fluid level and replacing the fluid at regular intervals recommended by the manufacturer is essential for the life of the hoses, pistons, valves, seals, and the power steering pump itself.
Facts to Note:
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 to Fix:
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.
Common symptoms indicating you need to change the power steering fluid:
Groaning noise from the power steering pump or steering gear
Difficulty in turning the steering wheel
Contaminated fluid (brown/black)
Importance of this service:
Changing your power steering fluid at manufacturer commended intervals, will ensure continued system performance and extended service life. It is a part of scheduled maintenance services and will save you the trouble of major repairs down the road.