All drivers know that it is mandatory to change the engine oil at a certain time, as well as replace filters or brake pads. But not many people know that power steering oil is a part of consumables, so most people never change it. However, the servo oil must also be replaced with a new one, from time to time.
This is one of the most important fluids required for the proper operation of the car’s steering system. It should be noted that the power steering oil circulates through the power steering pump and through its tubing, facilitating the rotation of the steering wheel.
There are cars with electric or electronic steering, which means that they don’t have any liquid. In such cases, we will not find the power steering oil pan under the hood, no matter how hard we look. But most vehicles have hydraulic steering, in which case we will find a dedicated container. Like any other vessel under the hood, the servo vessel also has a minimum level and a maximum level, two landmarks between which the oil must stay.
The operating life of the power steering is provided for the whole life of a car, but only if the system has no fluid leaks. Non-standard use of oil or delayed power steering fluid flush are the most common causes of power steering failure.
How much does a power steering flush cost?
The price of flushing the car’s power steering fluid is influenced by some factors such as the geographical location and the dealer/mechanic you choose. You will have to pay anywhere between $75 and $130 just for the flush without anything else included. On the other hand, if some other repairs will be needed when you flush the car’s power steering fluid, expect to see higher prices.
The procedure of flushing the power steering oil is pretty straightforward and the majority of the shops will charge a minimum fee plus the cost of the fluid itself. Usually, dealerships will charge 40% more than mechanics.
For example, according to Angie’s List, most of the experts are charging anywhere between $110 and $140.
If you choose to go to the Pep Boy’s shop, be prepared to pay $69.99 for the power steering flush service package.
Also, Jiffy Lube charges the same, $69.99 for this service, but this cost may increase depending on the location.
Anyone can replace the power steering fluid on their own. This process is simple and takes about 30 minutes. For the procedure, you will need a large syringe, a used liquid container, and protective gloves.
Follow the steps below:
- Lift the front of the car with a jack and secure it.
- Using a syringe, remove the old liquid from the tank.
- Unplug the return tube and place it in a pre-prepared container. Drain the oil.
- Pour the new liquid into the system.
- Turn the steering wheel a few times until it stops.
- After draining the old liquid, pour the new one to the mark on the surface of the power steering fluid reservoir or on the dipstick attached to the tank cap. Fill with oil until the new liquid comes out of the tube.
- Reattach the tube in place, start the engine, and turn the steering wheel in both directions.
- Once again, fill with liquid to the mark.
What causes power steering fluid loss?
As with other systems that actively contribute to the way the car runs, the power steering system also depends on a number of factors. Thus, among the triggers that may cause the need to change the power steering fluid are:
- premature wear, caused by an intense and even aggressive driving style;
- system damage caused by running on severe bumps;
- system leaks due to lack of sealing;
- choosing a liquid that does not conform to the specifications of the machine;
- overheating of the power steering fluid.
When should I replace my power steering fluid?
Most car manufacturers, including Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, and Ford, recommend changing the fluid every 1-2 years or every 75,000 miles. The following signs may indicate the need for an unplanned oil replacement:
- color change, oil darkening;
- the appearance of a burning odor;
- increase in the steering wheel’s resistance;
- abnormal sounds when turning the steering wheel;
- liquid leaks.
You must also replace the fluid if the pump or any other power steering components have been repaired. Improper use of oil that has lost its original properties or is improper overall can damage the pump or coils and lead to premature wear of the seals. On some vehicles, such as the Toyota Corolla, Subaru Impreza, and almost all Volkswagen cars, there is no possibility of replacing the seals. If they are worn, you will need to install a new power steering system.
What color is the power steering fluid?
Power steering fluids vary not only in composition and performance characteristics but also in color. The most common are:
- 1. Red. They are produced by the standards of General Motors and are known as Dexron. They are manufactured both by General Motors and by licensed third parties. These fluids are used in Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, and General Motors cars.
- Yellow. They are intended primarily for Mercedes-Benz vehicles. They are developed by Daimler but are also produced by other licensed manufacturers.
- Green. They are produced by the German company Pentosin. They are actively used in Volkswagen, Ford, Bentley, BMW, Volvo cars, as well as in Daimler AG Group cars.
However, it is a mistake to choose power steering oil only by color. The color does not always indicate the identity of the composition. For example, Dexron liquids can be either mineral or synthetic, although they are the same color. It is strictly forbidden to mix mineral, synthetic and semi-synthetic liquids with each other.
You should only buy high quality oil, always consider the technical requirements of the vehicle, and not neglect the recommendations for changing the power steering fluid. Driving calmly, replacing the fluid in a timely manner, and following the rules for its use guarantee a long and reliable operation of the power steering system.