If your car has a hydraulic power steering system (and not an electric one), then the system uses power steering fluid. The fluid is a hydraulic oil that runs in a closed system from a small reservoir down to the steering rack between the two front wheels. The purpose is, as you can also read on our page about power steering, to help the driver turn the front wheels, especially when the car is parked. Hydraulic steering fluid helps to achieve the amount of power needed to help you turn the steering wheel.
Power steering systems are designed to last the entire lifetime of the car. If you remember to maintain it by checking and doing a regular power steering fluid change, the system will continue to function optimally.
You might experience a power steering fluid leak, however. It may be necessary to replace some of the system’s parts and this may result in an expensive garage bill! We recommend that you check the fluid reservoir at regular intervals.
Many manufacturers recommend a check every 2 years or for every 62.000 miles driven. You should also make sure that you know which power steering fluid your car needs. If you are planning to change the power steering fluid, this will ensure you purchase the right fluid type. The correct fluid type is listed in your car owner’s manual.
Next, check that there is the recommended level of oil in the tank; if not, you will need to top up the power steering fluid. If you observe a low power steering fluid level, the pressure in the system is not reaching its full potential and the power steering will not work properly.
A mark on the side of the container tells you what the proper fluid level should be. The container can be accessed under the bonnet. If you can see that the fluid is not at a sufficient level, make sure to top it up.
It’s also an option to get a power steering fluid change if or when you need to replace other components of the power steering system, such as the pump or oil pipes running between the pump and the steering rack.
You can change the fluid yourself, but of course it requires the right tools and mechanical knowledge. Get a professional to help you if you don’t know how to change power steering fluid or how to top up power steering fluid.
You need to be aware of several things when it comes to steering fluid. First, it is good to know which power steering fluid type your car runs on. As mentioned, this can have an effect on how long the system lasts - read more about different types below.
In addition, you should keep an eye on the following things:
If there is a leak, it is especially important that you drive to a garage and have the issue diagnosed. It may well be that there is a leaking gasket in the pipes. This often happens because the system has been overheated due to driving too aggressively, which puts a strain on the hydraulic system.
If you know how to handle the system well, you can buy a power steering Stop Leak fluid online for a small amount of money and repair any leaks yourself. A power steering Stop Leak is an additive that makes sure to break down rust, reduce the whining noise from the steering wheel while also caring for and reconditioning worn rubber seals in the system.
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