Do You Need To Change Your Car's Power-Steering Fluid?


Replacing power-steering fluid generally is not listed among the regular maintenance items that should be performed, so on most vehicles replacing it is at the owner's discretion.

When you take your car in for routine service you may hear an urgent pitch for having your power-steering pump flushed and filled with fresh fluid because the current fluid has turned dark. Bear in mind that engine oil and transmission fluid also become darker after a while, so a deeper shade of red doesn't mean the power-steering fluid is bad. Before you jump at paying for this service, see what your owner's manual or maintenance schedule says. You probably won't find mention of changing the fluid.

You should check the power-steering fluid reservoir monthly to make sure it has the proper amount and that the power-steering system isn't leaking. Reservoirs on many vehicles are the see-through plastic type, so you don't even have to remove a cap to check the level. Consult your owner's manual for the location of the reservoir in the engine compartment for help. You also should check the manual for the type of power-steering fluid that is required. The manufacturer may call for a specific type of fluid instead of a generic type found at parts stores.

Losing sleep worrying about the power-steering fluid in your vehicle because of its appearance or age? You could refresh it without draining all the fluid and flushing the system, but that may be more complicated than you're comfortable doing yourself (or paying for). Instead, find a turkey baster that will fit inside the reservoir and drain as much old fluid as you can. Then, you can refill it with fresh fluid to the proper level. You won't get all the old fluid, but do this a few times and you should be able to replace most of it.

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By Rick Popely | June 5, 2013 | Comments (10)


Great advice on saving money!


thanks for saving us $110!


How can I change my power steering fluid myself?
2.Can use sucker bottle to drain bit by bit of the fluid.

thank you

Connie G

Thank you thank you thank you! Just save me $192

Gabriel V.

My power steering looks black and I was worried about having to pay for a flush/trying to follow a youtube video. This is incredibly simple! Thank you Rick!


All fluids lose their effective properties after a while. I just replaced the power steering pump on my 2005 Hyundai Elantra at 171,000 miles. Not because it was leaking, but because it sounded like a sewing machine when it ran and the bearings were starting to bind. It cost me about $270 with labor for a new pump. However, I've never changed the fluid. I would love to have a schedule to be able to follow to do this. I think I will change it myself at every 50k miles because power steering fluid is cheap and it's easy to do.

steve scatchetd

Hi, I have put green slick 50 power steering fluid intp my 1999 volvo c70 but I think the old stuff in there was red. In order to flush it can I disconnect one of the pipes an run the engine with the power steering cap off to drain it. Also my csr keeps losing revs whilst driving and I lose acceleration, would this be due to the air flow sensor being firty. Many thanks.


how come i never see any articles about when to change the blinker fluid???


reeplacing the oil fluid in a turkey baster is pointless. any fluid you put in will dilute with the old fluid. So if you keep doing that you're never going to replace all the bad fluid as it will just get diluted.

Most power steering systems pump oil around constantly. There will be two hoses connected to the power steering resevoir, one filling the reservoir with cycled oil, and one draining the resevoir, identify the one filling thje reservour, disconnect it, plug the hole the the reservour, then place a large bottle to catch oil coming out of the [now disconnected] hose. Then turn the engine on and do a few locks, making sure to fill with power steering fluid. You will have done a full, deep power steering fluid change and wont need to do it until 10 more years later.

Charles N

What about brake fluid? How often should it be flushed? Any suggestions?

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