How to Flush Power Steering Fluid

by Contributor

Steering fluid is a form of lubrication used to help your car's power steering system to run smoothly and efficiently. The liquid contains a mixture of a base stock and a variety of additives. If your car's power steering pump suffers from a serious mechanical problem, you may have to flush your steering fluid.

Put your car in park and turn off the engine.

Open your car's hood. Secure it in place so you can work beneath it.

Remove the filter from the top of your power steering system. For the exact location of your car's power steering filter, you'll need to consult your owner's manual.

Detach the overflow tank from the radiator. This will make it easier for you to reach the power steering reservoir. Keep the tank handy, as you'll be replacing it soon.

Disconnect the reservoir's hose. It should be located on the bottom of the reservoir. The hose can be tough to remove, so make sure you have plenty of patience.

Replace the reservoir's hose with another hose. It should lead to an empty container. You'll use this container to store the old power steering fluid as it leaves the reservoir

Lift the front end of your car off the ground by using a car jack.

Add new power steering fluid to the reservoir. As you add the new lubricant, it will force the old lubricant into the tube you've connected to the bottom of the reservoir.

Climb into the drivers seat and rack your steering wheel back and forth. The wheel should be locked in place, allowing only a slight range of mobility. This will help the extra lubricant within the power steering system to drain.

Watch the empty container. It should fill with old lubricant. Once the old lubricant has been flushed and you see clean fluid replacing it, you've finished the hard part.

Disconnect your hose and move the container.

Replace the original reservoir hose.

Pour new, clean power steering fluid into the reservoir.

Rack your steering wheel a few more times to squeeze out air that might be trapped in the lines.

Replace the filter and overflow tank and close your hood.

Tips

  • check You may have to flush your power steering system if the lubricant has become contaminated by dirt or debris. A modest amount of debris is expected to collect while driving, but excessive amounts can lead to other problems with your steering system.
  • check A well-maintained car can expect to go 200,000 miles before it needs to have the power steering fluid replaced. Unless you're suffering from a mechanical problem, drive excessively or drive in extreme weather, you should only need to flush your power steering fluid roughly four times per century.

Warnings

  • close Once you flush your power steering fluid, it's important that you replace it with another lubricant specifically designed for use within a power steering system. While less expensive, generic lubricants exist, they can cause damage the rubber inside your car's steering mechanism. Consult your car's owner's manual for specific instructions as to the kinds of steering fluid that are safe to use.
  • close Steering fluid is meant to look dirty. Often times, steering fluid will turn dark and murky within minutes of being added. You might not be able to tell whether your steering fluid needs to be changed just by looking at it.

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About the Author

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