How to Change Power Steering Oil

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You depend on power steering fluid, not only for effortless steering, but also to operate your car's steering system under numerous conditions, including extreme temperatures. While some car manuals provide instructions on changing power steering fluid, other manuals do not. Some car manufacturers have designed power steering fluid to last throughout your car's lifetime. If your car has the long-lasting, lifetime fluid variety, change it every five years or every 100,000 miles. You can change regular power steering fluid once every three years or every 50,000 miles. Your car manual will specify the power steering fluid type to use.

Things You'll Need

  • Shop towels
  • Battery filler or fluid removal transfer tool
  • Clean, empty, leak-proof plastic container with lid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Funnel
  • Car owner's manual
  • Open your car hood by pulling the hood release latch, located under the dash. You will hear your hood open a little. Depress the latch on the front edge of your car's hood to lift the hood fully open.

  • Look inside for a plastic or clear receptacle with a round filler cap near the front of your engine. You may see the words, "power steering" on the cap's top. Remove the cap by turning it counterclockwise.

  • Insert the fluid removal tool into the receptacle to withdraw the fluid. The fluid removal tool looks similar to a turkey baster. Release the fluid into a clean, empty plastic container with a lid. Use a shop towel to wipe up any spills onto your engine. Screw the lid on the plastic container containing the old power steering fluid and set the container aside.

  • Place a funnel inside of the power steering receptacle top and pour in new power steering fluid for your car type, according to your car's manual. Fill the receptacle to the proper level marked on the receptacle. Take care not to overfill the receptacle with fluid.

  • Start your engine. Turn your steering wheel from left to right a few times. Check your fluid level again to make certain your vehicle does not have leaks. Also look on the ground under your car for a possible leak.

  • Take the plastic container containing the used fluid to an auto repair shop in your area that recycles car fluids.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check the power steering fluid color and levels once each month as regular maintenance for your car. If the color appears significantly darker than the usual pink/red or amber color, it may need changing due to contamination or deterioration
  • Do not drive your car with low power steering fluid levels. This can damage the power steering pump.
  • Do not dump your used vehicle fluids on the ground or anywhere--it is illegal in many states, since vehicle fluids contaminate the environment.

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References

  • Photo Credit recycle in black background image by Kirubeshwaran from Fotolia.com
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