As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to change your power steering fluid every 2 years (or approximately 24,000 miles). There are no test strips to let you know when your fluid starts to go bad, so it’s important to keep on top of it on your own. Most garages will provide this service as part of a servicing, but you shouldn’t pay extra for it since it’s a relatively. It can be dangerous to drive with bad power steering fluid; once it starts to go bad, your steering can become unresponsive and slow. Ensuring it’s new and clean will make sure your vehicle remains responsive. In this guide, we’ll go over the steps on how to change power steering fluid. This method applies to all vehicles that have power steering.
To get started, make sure you have a litre of the proper power steering fluid handy. You should find the type of fluid to use in your owner’s manual, or a quick Google of your make, model and year will provide that information. Next, you’ll want to pop open your bonnet. Make sure your vehicle has not been driven for a couple of hours and under your hood is cool to the touch as operating the vehicle can make some components extremely hot. You’ll want to locate the power steering fluid reservoir. It should be clearly labeled with a picture of a steering wheel or some clearly printed text saying “Power Steering” of some sort. Some caps will even say the type of fluid to use on the cap itself. Once the cap is removed you’ll see the fluid. In most cases, if the fluid is a light brown in colour it needs to be changed whereas if it’s a clean pink colour it’s fine. The colour varies between types of fluid, though, so refer to your owner’s manual.
Next up in our guide, how to change power steering fluid,
you’ll want to optimally use an oil pump. If an oil pump isn’t an option, a store bought turkey baster will be sufficient. If you can find a dripless baster, use that to avoid dripping power steering fluid on the nearby components. Otherwise, have a towel or rag nearby to place under the baster while you transfer the fluid to a container for disposal. Place the baster in the reservoir and suck out as much fluid as you can, emptying it into a nearby container and avoiding dripping onto nearby components. Repeat this process as many times as it takes to empty the reservoir; it should only take a few minutes.
Once the reservoir is empty you may begin to fill it back up with new fluid. The reservoir should hold one litre of fluid however there should be a dipstick inside of the reservoir with markings. Note that the markings will be different based on hot or cold operating temperatures of your vehicle. Once the reservoir is full up to the optimal marking for cold temperature, stop filling. At this point you’ll want to replace the power steering reservoir cap and close the hood. Get in your car and start the engine. Turn the wheel back and forth and make sure everything feels normal and smooth. If it does, drive the vehicle around for a few miles to make sure nothing seems off and the steering is responsive while allowing it to reach it’s normal driving temperature. Park the vehicle after a few miles, open the hood, and look inside the reservoir again. If the fluid turned back to a brownish colour, you’ll need to repeat the process again and fill it with a fresh litre of power steering fluid. The reason the new fluid will turn brown again is because driving the vehicle will cycle the reservoir fluid through the power steering system, effectively flushing the old fluid out and replacing it with the new fluid. Once replaced, drive the vehicle again and check the reservoir. Keep repeating this until it’s clean and pink every time you check the reservoir.
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