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How to Check the Power Steering Fluid Level on a Chevrolet Lumina

by Mike Parker

The power-steering system on your Chevrolet Lumina is a closed system, so you should never need to add power steering fluid to the reservoir. You should not even have to check the level of your power-steering fluid on a regular basis, unless you suspect there is a leak in your system. Fluid on the driveway beneath your car or an unusual noise coming from under the hood when you turn the steering wheel may indicate a leak in the system. That's when it is time to check the power-steering fluid level.

Turn the engine off. Pull back on the hood release lever located under the dash to the left of the driver’s side. Lift the hood to its fully opened position.

Locate the power-steering fluid reservoir on the left side of the engine between the engine block and the coolant recovery tank. Wipe the power-steering fluid reservoir cap with a clean rag or paper towel to clean it before opening. Grasp the power-steering fluid reservoir cap and twist it counterclockwise. Remove the cap from the reservoir.

Wipe the dipstick that is attached to the bottom of the cap with the rag or paper towel. Replace the cap onto the reservoir and turn clockwise until it is completely tight. Unscrew the cap from the reservoir again by turning it counter clockwise. Remove the cap from the reservoir and check the level of power steering fluid on the dipstick. If the engine compartment is hot, the level should be at the “H” mark on the dipstick. If the engine compartment is cool, the fluid level should be at the “C” mark on the dipstick.

Add GM power-steering fluid or equivalent to the reservoir only if the fluid level is at or below the “Add” mark on the dipstick. Replace the lid onto the reservoir and twist clockwise to seal the power-steering fluid reservoir.

Close the hood. Dispose of the soiled rags or paper towels in an approved container.


  • If the power steering fluid level falls below the “Add” indicator, you probably have a leak in your power steering system. Seek professional maintenance as soon as possible.
  • There is no need to add power steering fluid if the level is between the “H” and “C” level indicators.
  • These instructions are specific to the 1996 Chevrolet Lumina sedan. Other years and models may vary. Check your owner’s manual.


  • Do not use any kind of power-steering fluid other than GM power-steering fluid or equivalent. Using the wrong kind of fluid can damage hoses and seals and cause leaks.

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About the Author

Mike Parker is a full-time writer, publisher and independent businessman. His background includes a career as an investments broker with such NYSE member firms as Edward Jones & Company, AG Edwards & Sons and Dean Witter. He helped launch DiscoverCard as one of the company's first merchant sales reps.

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