It’s important to keep your car in good condition by regularly checking the fluid levels. Experts consider power steering fluid one of the six essential car fluids, so getting them checked is a vital task that’s easy to do but often neglected.
In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to check power steering fluid and discuss other related topics you need to know.
How To Check Power Steering Fluid
Checking your car's power steering fluid level is a relatively simple task that should only take a few minutes. Here’s how:
1. Locate your car’s power steering fluid reservoir
Locate the power steering fluid reservoir on your car and find out how to open it. It’s often found under a cover near the wheel of your vehicle. However, its position may differ based on your car’s make and model. Consider checking your car’s manual for specific details on where the reservoir is located.
2. Find and clean the dipstick
Once you’ve opened the power steering fluid reservoir, find the dipstick that is usually an orange or red color. Clean it so that you can easily see the fluid level. The best way to get the dipstick cleaned is by wiping it with a paper towel or a white cloth.
3. Slowly lower the dipstick into the reservoir and pull it back out
Lower the dipstick slowly into the power steering fluid reservoir until it reaches the bottom. Make sure not to push it in too fast as you might splash the power steering fluid around. After reaching the bottom, pull the dipstick back out and check the fluid level.
For better results, ensure that the vehicle is parked on a level surface so that the fluid level is not affected due to an uneven position.
4. Check the power steering fluid level
The ideal power steering fluid level should be between the “full” and “low” marks on the dipstick. If it’s below the “low” mark, add more power steering fluid to the reservoir until it reaches the recommended level.
The amount of power steering fluid that you need will depend on your car’s make and model. Typically, you can add between 1 to 3 quarts of power steering fluid to reach the recommended level.
5. Check the color and clarity of the fluid
In addition to checking the fluid level, it’s also essential to check the color and clarity of the power steering fluid. The fluid should be a translucent color and not be cloudy or have any debris.
If the power steering fluid is dark or murky, it’s a sign that it needs to be replaced. The dark color and debris are caused by contaminants that can wear down the power steering system over time.
To check the quality of the fluid, dip the dipstick in it and wipe it off on a white paper towel or cloth. That should enable you to check the color of the fluid and find any impurities.
If you notice any issues with the color, clarity, or power steering fluid level, it’s best to bring your car to a mechanic for further inspection. Frequent discoloration of the car fluids can signify a bigger problem that needs to be fixed.
6. Repeat the process if necessary
After adding more power steering fluid to the reservoir, it’s important to check the level again and repeat the process if necessary. Even with a small leak in your car’s power steering system, it can lose fluid quickly, so it’s important to check it regularly.
It’s generally recommended to check the levels twice every time you get your oil changed. You can keep an eye on the power steering fluid and top it up as needed to prevent any issues.
7. Check for possible leaks
Once you’ve checked and topped off the low power steering fluid, it’s also important to check for any possible leaks in the system. A leaky power steering system can damage your entire car, so it’s important to watch the fluid levels and top them off when needed.
One way to check for leaks is to look for any pools of power steering fluid under your car. Another way to check is to look for streaks of power steering fluid on the ground. If you notice any leaks, it’s best to bring your car in for repairs as soon as possible.
8. Close the power steering fluid reservoir and put the dipstick back
Once you’re done checking the power steering fluid, it’s important to ensure that the dipstick is correctly inserted into the reservoir and that you close the cap. After that, you can get back on the road and continue driving your car.
If you don’t keep up with the fluid levels, it can result in significant problems down the road.
Why You Need To Check Power Steering Fluid
One of the most important things that you need to do when taking care of your car is checking and maintaining the power steering fluid. This vital car fluid helps keep your steering system well-lubricated and functioning correctly, which is why it’s important to check it regularly.
Some of the key reasons why you need to check your power steering fluid include:
- Preventing costly repairs. One of the main reasons it’s important to check the power steering fluid is to avoid any costly repairs or damage to your car. If you don’t keep up with the fluid levels, it can result in significant problems down the road.
- Keeping your car running smoothly. In addition to preventing repairs, checking the power steering fluid also helps to keep your vehicle running smoothly. If the fluid levels are low, it can cause problems with the steering system and make it harder to turn the wheel.
- Maintaining safety. Another reason why you need to check the power steering fluid is for safety reasons. If the fluid levels get too low, the steering system can fail, leading to serious accidents.
So if you want to keep your car running smoothly and safely, it’s important to check the power steering fluid regularly and make sure that it’s at an optimal level.
When Should You Replace Power Steering Fluid?
If you’re wondering when you should replace power steering fluid, the answer isn’t always clear-cut. In general, it’s a good idea to check the fluid levels every time you get an oil change and to replace it if needed.
Some car experts also recommend changing your power steering fluid at least every two years or after 50,000 miles. Your car’s manual often provides specific recommendations on when you should have your car fluids replaced.
However, there may be times when you need to replace the fluid more frequently. Some common signs that it’s time to replace your power steering fluid include:
- Leaking or low levels of fluid: If you notice that your power steering fluid is leaking or the levels are low, it’s good to have it replaced. This is especially true if you notice that the fluid is dirty or contains debris.
- Difficulty steering: Another sign that it’s time to replace your power steering fluid is if you notice that it’s harder to steer your car. This could be a sign of low power steering fluid levels, or it could indicate that there’s a problem with your steering system. Either way, it’s best to get the fluid levels checked and potentially replaced right away.
- Squealing noises: If you hear squealing noises coming from your steering wheel, it could signify that the power steering fluid needs to be replaced. These noises are often caused by low fluid levels or a problem with the steering system.
- Bad fluid quality: If your power steering fluid appears to be dirty or cloudy, it’s a good idea to have it replaced. This is often a sign that the quality of the fluid has degraded, which can damage your steering system over time.
In general, it’s not recommended to do this unless you have some experience working on cars.
Can You Replace Them Yourself?
You might be wondering if you can replace your power steering fluid yourself. In general, it’s not recommended to do this unless you have some experience working on cars.
That’s because it can be a bit tricky to get the proper amounts of fluid into your power steering system, and there are also a few other things that need to be done when you replace the fluid.
For example, you’ll need to bleed the air out of the system after adding the new fluid, and you might also need to adjust the steering belt tension. If you’re not sure how to do these things, it’s best to leave it to a professional.
How Much Will It Cost?
The cost of replacing your power steering fluid will vary depending on several factors, including where you have it done and the type of car you have. You can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $100 for this service.
If any additional repairs need to be done, such as bleeding the system or fixing leaks, you can expect to pay even more.
Keep An Eye On Your Power Steering Fluid
You should now have a good understanding of why you need to check your power steering fluid and when it needs to be replaced. You also know how to check the fluid levels yourself and what to look for when it’s time to replace the fluid.
Remember, it’s essential to keep an eye on your power steering fluid levels to avoid any potential problems with your car’s steering system. If you have any concerns, consult with a professional and get your power steering fluid replaced right away.
If you’re looking to have your vehicle inspected or have its power steering fluid replaced, consider going to Auto Works of Brandon. Our company offers everything your car needs from repairs to fluid flushes. Visit our website today to set up an appointment with our experienced car experts.