Power Steering Fluid Flush Info and Importance

What Is This?

 

 

Power steering

In power rack-and-pinion steering, fluid pressurized by the pump pushes on either side of a piston mounted to the rack, helping you turn the wheels.

Simply put, power-steering fluid is the hydraulic fluid that transmits the power in power steering. Servicing it involves draining or flushing out your car’s old power-steering fluid and then adding fresh power steering fluid.

Should I do this service when it’s recommended?

Absolutely. The fluid is the cheapest component of your power-steering system. Changing it can help to prolong the life of other, more expensive power-steering components such as the power-steering pump and the stratospherically expensive power-steering rack.

Why do I have to do this?

Over time, the seals, O-rings and internal power-steering components will wear out. When they break apart, they contaminate the power-steering fluid, which forces the power-steering pump to work harder (having to pump little chunks instead of just fluid) and eventually break down.

What happens if I don’t do this?

You’ll eventually chew up your power-steering pump. It’ll have to be replaced at a cost of several hundred dollars, or you’ll have no power steering — and you can’t easily drive a car that’s equipped with power steering when the power-steering system fails. You also may damage the rack, which will require you to take out a small home-equity loan to replace.


Is there any maintenance required between intervals?

If you hear a whining or moaning noise when you turn the steering wheel, you should have your power-steering system checked. Your power-steering pump may be about to fail.

Also, if you notice a leak of any kind, you should definitely check your power-steering fluid level and make sure you keep it topped up. Running out of fluid will cook the pump, too.

Source: Car Talk

illustration by Cars.com

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