Keep up with and replace your vehicle’s power steering fluid regularly. This is one of the first steps to making sure your steering stays in top shape, and you drive safely. Your steering system uses a hydraulic system to transfer the force applied in the steering wheel to the wheels, which are supported by the steering rack.
The power steering fluid serves as a transmitter for this force, but one that can deteriorate and degrade over time.
As this vital fluid flows through seals, O-rings, and other rubber parts, there will be some detritus that enters the steering fluid and causes the necessary cohesion to be lost – especially when these small particles begin to float into the steering assembly causing havoc.
Power Steering Fluids Best Choice
How To Choose Power Steering Fluids ?
Best 5 Power Steering Fluids
ACDelco Power Steering Fluid
Red Line Power Steering Fluid
Lucas Oil Power Steering Fluid with Conditioners
Prestone Power Steering Fluid
Royal Purple MAX EZ Power Steering Fluid
We have tested the power steering fluids and selected the best products for you.
How to buy good quality power steering fluid
Keep up with and replace your vehicle’s power steering fluid regularly. This is one of the first steps to making sure your steering stays in top shape and you drive safely. Your steering system uses a hydraulic system to transfer the force applied in the steering wheel to the wheels, which are supported by the steering rack.
The power steering fluid serves as a transmitter for this force, but one that can deteriorate and degrade over time. As this vital fluid flows through seals, O-rings, and other rubber parts, there will be some detritus that gets into the steering fluid and causes it to lose the cohesion it needs – especially when these small particles start to float into the steering unit causing havoc.
An important factor in choosing your power steering fluid could be:
- Brake fluid is not power steering fluid: Brake fluid is different from power steering fluid, so don’t confuse the two. They have a unique chemical makeup for their needs. While brake fluid is also used to transmit power, confusing the two and using one instead of the other can cause serious damage to your vehicle.
- Check your owner’s manual: be careful when choosing a power steering fluid to pay attention to the recommended viscosity of the fluid you choose. Your owner’s manual should provide guidance and direction on what best fits your system.
- Synthetic vs. Mineral: Synthetic power steering fluids are available on the market, as are mineral-based fluids. If you live in a colder part of the country, a synthetic fluid might be a better fit because it doesn’t require a lot of heat to reach normal operating temperatures.
- Make sure you get the right power steering fluid for your car, truck, or SUV so you can stay safe on the road.
How to check the power steering fluid and when to change it
Checking the power steering fluid is a simple task that anyone can perform. Yet, it is often given little attention until the pump clunks and makes noise. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for recommendations on how often the power steering fluid should be checked.
Since the process is so simple, the power steering fluid can usually be checked whenever you have a long drive coming up or during the mandatory oil level check.
How to check the power steering fluid – a step-by-step guide
- Locate the power steering fluid reservoir
The location of the reservoir is different on every vehicle. Usually, it is a small, clear container with a black cap. Many vehicles have markings on the outside of the reservoir that indicate “MAX” or “MIN”. Make sure the fluid level is above the “MIN” mark, but not overfilled.
- Check the dipstick (if present)
Other vehicles have markings on the power steering fluid dipstick, similar to an oil dipstick. In this case, remove the cap and wipe the dipstick clean. Reinstall the cap and make sure it is fully seated.
- Remove the cap again and check the fluid level
Make sure the fluid is at the appropriate temperature. You may see markings for “Hot” and “Cold”. So make sure you are referring to the correct mark depending on whether the engine is hot or cold.
- Adding Power Steering Fluid
Fill the reservoir according to the markings.
When does the power steering fluid (PSF) need to be changed?
Refer to the owner’s manual for recommendations on the intervals at which power steering fluid must be changed. If it has been some time since the last change, or possibly never before, and the fluid appears dark and dirty, go ahead and change it. This picture shows the dramatic difference between old and new power steering fluid.
Like any other lubricant, power steering fluid accumulates wear material, moisture, and other debris. The fluid also wears out due to oxidation. Worn power steering fluid can damage the power steering pump.
It is more convenient to replace the fluid before you replace the pump because it is much more expensive.
How do I change the power steering fluid (PSF)?
The procedure varies depending on the vehicle. Check your owner’s manual or a service manual for specific instructions for your vehicle. In general, however, most power steering systems have the same configurations.
A high-pressure hose carries fluid from the power steering pump to the steering rack. A low-pressure hose returns the fluid to the fluid reservoir. The cycle repeats with the engine running.
Cleaning the power steering system
Completely flushing the power steering system requires some technical know-how and can be quite a mess. It is helpful to have an extra helper. First, disconnect the low-pressure return hose and direct it into a bucket or catch basin. You will probably need an extra piece of hose to reach the tub. Then start the engine and turn the steering wheel all the way in both directions. This will pump the old fluid into the catch pan.
To prevent air from entering the system, post a helper with a couple of bottles of new power steering fluid near the reservoir. Add fluid as needed to prevent the reservoir from running dry. As soon as your helper sees new fluid draining into the reservoir, shut off the engine and reconnect the hose.
The trick is to not let any air into the system so it doesn’t have to be bled.
What power steering fluid do I need?
Use a fluid that meets the appropriate specification in your owner’s manual. Some vehicles use automatic transmission fluid in the power steering system.
For best protection against pump wear and best performance in extreme temperatures, use synthetic fluid.
Synthetic fluids promote the formation of a strong fluid film to prevent wear. They also flow more easily in cold weather.