When Do You Need to Change Power Steering Fluid?

Engine Block Power Steering Fluid

Nowadays, automakers are met with strict guidelines for adhering to government standards, which are implemented based on information received through situations such as vehicle recalls, accidents, and even automotive repairs. Many of the automotive parts that are used to keep driving safe, as well as convenient, are typically parts that are not really considered to be high-maintenance, but they play an extremely important role. One of those parts is the power steering pump.

When Does Your Steering Fluid Need Changing?

To begin with, the power steering pump is attached to the engine and not to the steering, as the name implies. The role of the power steering pump is to aid in allowing you to maneuver the steering wheel with greater ease while driving, but especially while making turns. The power steering pump uses hydraulic fluid; also known as power steering fluid, to multiply the force that is applied to the steering wheel, which is automatically received from the power steering pump.

If you're of a certain age, you might remember when vehicles were manufactured without power steering, also called manual steering. Manual steering required great arm strength to maneuver the vehicle; but a benefit was a lower priced vehicle. Although power steering has been available since 1926, it wasn't until 1951 that it was first used commercially, which was influenced by the military's need for vehicles that were heavier and required easier steering.

How Does Power Steering Fluid Affect The System?

Acura TLX Front Grille

Power steering fluid needs to be clean for it to be able to flow evenly through the system and keep its continued momentum. The proportion of the power steering is consistent with the speed of the engine, as the vehicle is in motion. This is important for determining when you need to change your power steering fluid, but it is not the only one. Often times, a power steering pump will fail due to a seal leak, contamination, shaft wear, bearing wear or becoming frozen. The good news is that every vehicle typically gives certain warning signs, and if you pay close attention, you can detect potential problems before you have a mechanical breakdown. One of the major warning signs is a leak of fluid underneath the vehicle; typically noticed in your driveway or after moving your parked vehicle.

What Are the Warning Signs?

Another sign is a very noticeable "whining" sound as you turn the steering wheel. Don't worry, the sound is very distinctive and not one that can be ignored or become insignificant. You may notice that your steering wheel has become harder to turn. In either of these scenarios, the power steering fluid may need to be changed. Additionally, you should visibly inspect the power steering fluid for changes in coloration and level. After locating the power steering pump attached to the engine, first look for the correct power steering fluid level and determine if the fluid reaches the required fill line. Secondly, inspect the power steering fluid for consistency and debris. The color should be consistent, and there should never be any graininess within the fluid.

Your vehicle may also receive a dashboard warning signal, and it should be responded to immediately and not ignored. Although the power steering fluid may be low, it may also become contaminated. If that is determined by a qualified technician, the power steering fluid should be changed, rather than refilled.

Interested in learning more about changing your power steering fluid or any automotive repair? Contact the staff at Vandergriff Acura! Every staff member at our dealership is empowered with the necessary resources, support, and skills to make your experience satisfying. Our commitment is to provide you with excellent service in all your automotive needs!

Categories: Service, Tips & Tricks

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