How to Check and Add Power-Steering Fluid

by Contributor

Check the power-steering fluid when you check the other fluids under the hood. You don't want to let a leak go undetected. Small leaks usually turn into large ones over time.

Open the hood and find the reservoir for the power-steering fluid. It will probably be labeled on the cap. If not, look near the belts for a pulley-driven pump with a plastic or metal reservoir on top.

Open the cap. It may unscrew or pop off.

Check the fluid level (see illustration in Step 2). If the reservoir is made of clear plastic, look for full and low indicator lines on the outside. The cap will have a small dipstick attached if the reservoir isn't see-through. Wipe the dipstick clean with a rag and put the cap back on. Remove the cap and check the level on the dipstick. Your car may have both full hot and full cold indicators, as the fluid level will vary depending on whether the engine is cold or hot.

Add power-steering fluid as needed, using a funnel to avoid spilling. If the engine is hot, fill to the hot line. If the engine is cold, fill to the cold line.

Put the reservoir cap back on.


  • check If you can use only one hand to parallel-park, then you have power steering.


  • close Running out of power-steering fluid will damage the pump. Replacing a cracked power-steering hose or loose clamp is cheap compared with the cost of replacing the pump.
  • close Check the label on the fluid to make sure it's the correct type for your car.

Items you will need

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