There are many different fluids you need to swap out on a regular basis—oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid and radiator fluid. One of those that regularly gets lost in the shuffle is a powering steering fluid flush. Not sure that a power steering flush is really necessary? Learn more about why this part of your maintenance schedule should never be skipped.
The Basics of Power Steering
Your power steering system works by using the principles of hydraulics. In a typical power steering system, your engine pumps power steering fluid from its reservoir into the steering box using a belt and pulley. When you turn your steering wheel to drive, the power steering fluid is put under pressure and then pushed into a piston that helps to move the steering wheel. Once you stop turning the steering wheel, the valve will shut off and stop the flow of oil and the piston. Even if the power steering system fails, you can still use the steering wheel to turn your car. However, it will be much more difficult to do without the help of the fluid.
Fluid Breaks Down Over Time
Any vehicle that uses a hydraulic power-steering system utilizes power steering fluid. This fluid works with your power steering pump to make it easier to move the steering wheel, have the car respond properly and drive with ease. Even if you use a high-quality power steering fluid, it will degrade in quality over time. As you drive your vehicle, the power steering fluid will slowly accumulate rubber and metal particles. Repeated circulation of contaminated fluid will lead to greater wear on your gears and pumps.
Should You Replace Your Power Steering Fluid?
Some of the key signs that it’s time to replace your power steering fluid include:
- Your power steering is making noise, particularly if you are moving slowly or in a parking lot. Fluid levels may be low, or the fluid that you have might be too old.
- The steering wheel is jerky or jumpy when you turn it from one side to the other. Again, this will be most noticeable when you are moving slowly in a parking lot.
- The steering wheel becomes harder to turn than normal. This occurs naturally as fluid becomes clogged and dirty or evaporated over time.
- There is a puddle underneath your car when you move it in the morning. While this could be almost any fluid, in many cases it ends up being power steering fluid leaking out.
- Your steering wheel screeches or makes a loud, sharp sound whenever you turn the wheel.
How Often Should Fluid Be Changed?
Your power steering fluid should be checked every time that you come in for an oil change or maintenance visit. In general, a power steering fluid flush is recommended every 30,000 to 60,000 miles, depending on your area and driving habits. That will involve all of the current fluid in the system being drained out, the system being flushed and completely new power steering fluid being put in. If you notice that you are having to replace your fluid more frequently than every 60,000 miles due to low levels, it’s a sign that you could be dealing with a leak in your power steering system.
Trust the Power Steering Pros to Flush Your System at Thunderbird Automotive
Thunderbird Automotive is a leader in auto repair and maintenance in Phoenix, AZ thanks to our awesome customer service, broad range of repair services and expertise. To learn more about our services and get your vehicle checked out, please contact us at (602) 938-3631.