The power steering system on modern vehicles runs on hydraulics operated by
power steering fluid.
Always confirm with the owner's manual how often the power steering
fluid needs to be changed for your particular vehicle. The general
guideline is to change that steering fluid every 80,000 miles or five
years, whichever comes first. However, you may need to flush the system
and replace it with new fluid if there are contaminants.
Keep reading to learn more about changing the fluid in your power steering
How Often Should I Change My Power Steering Fluid?
The vehicle's owner's manual will always have the manufacturer-recommended
service intervals for changing a vehicle's power steering fluid. Usually,
manufacturers recommend the power steering fluid be changed after at least
80,000 miles; however, always confirm with the owner's manual.
Signs You Need To Change Power Steering Fluid?
You will likely notice any serious problems with the power steering system
Signs that a steering fluid change is required often include:
If you experience one or more of these symptoms in your vehicle, check the
power steering fluid level or take your car to a mechanic for inspection.
What Color Should Power Steering Fluid Be?
Power steering fluid should be a fairly bright red or pink color. The
fluid should also be slightly clear, with no particles in it.
If you check the fluid in your power steering system and find it darker
than usual, it could mean that you have contaminated fluid, and it may be
necessary to get your power steering fluid flushed.
How Long Is Power Steering Fluid Good For?
Since the power steering system on your vehicle is sealed, it should be
good for at least five years and 80,000 miles worth of driving. But, of
course, the answer differs from car to car, so it's important to check
the owner's manual to see when the car manufacturer recommends a power
steering fluid flush.
You should frequently check the power steering fluid for contaminants such
as dirt or oil. If the fluid is a dark color, it's a sign that it needs to
What Happens If You Don't Change Steering Fluid?
If the power steering fluid in your vehicle runs low or becomes dirty, it
can cause severe damage to your car, leading to costly repair jobs.
If the problem is not addressed, you could sustain damage to the
internal power steering components, such as the power steering pump, O
rings, valves, and seals.
How Much To Change Power Steering Fluid?
Typically, a power steering fluid change can cost anywhere between $100
and $250. Therefore, it's usually recommended to let a mechanic handle
the job as it's relatively inexpensive and can be messy. Not to mention
used oil can be a pain to dispose of properly.
If a mechanic is replacing your power steering fluid, make sure they do a
thorough inspection for a potential leak, as this can be a problem with
power steering systems on modern vehicles.
Is Power Steering Fluid Flush Necessary?
A power steering fluid flush is necessary if the fluid is contaminated
or dirty. However, it's not something that needs to be done frequently.
A mechanic should always check the power steering fluid reservoir to ensure
that the quality and quantity of the power steering fluid in your vehicle
are up to standard.
Power Steering Flush Kit
You can do your power steering fluid flush by buying a simple power
steering flush kit. Doing so will be cheaper than a trip to the
mechanic, but it takes time and effort.
Power steering flush kits often come with power steering fluid, fluid
change syringes, and manual vacuum pumps. This kit is unnecessary, but it
can help flush the system faster.
Can I Change Power Steering Fluid Myself?
Here are the steps to changing the power steering fluid in your car:
Jack up the front of the car
Locate and drain the power steering reservoir. Check your owner's manual if you're
unsure where to find it.
Disconnect the return line and start draining the system.
If you have a power steering flush kit, you can use it to flush the old
fluid out of the system.
Flush the system with fresh fluid (can be done with new fluid or power
steering flush kit).
Reconnect the return line.
Top up the power steering reservoir with new fluid.
Check underneath the car for any leaks.
Double-check that everything is connected correctly and closed, then
lower the vehicle.
Can I Just Add Power Steering Fluid?
If your car has low-power steering fluid, you can add new fluid into the
reservoir. Make sure not to exceed the maximum line in the reservoir, and
always fill the fluid past the minimum line.
Your vehicle's owner's manual will confirm how often the power steering
fluid needs to be changed for the make and model of your car. It's
essential to flush the system if the fluid is contaminated, which you'll
notice if it is dark brown or black. You can change the power steering
fluid in your car yourself, but it is better to save the hassle and get it
done at a mechanic.