How to add Power Steering Fluid
Your vehicle’s power steering system helps make turning the steering wheel easy. And that helps make low-speed maneuvers like parallel parking easier.
Many newer vehicles are equipped with Electronic Power Assist Steering (EPAS) and do not use steering fluid. But some older vehicles require power steering fluid to help keep this system running smoothly. Owners of these types of vehicles should check the fluid level every month.
If your power steering reservoir is low on fluid, you’ll need to add more to help keep your power steering system healthy. Here’s how it’s done.
- Get a quart of the correct power steering fluid for your vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for more information.
- Park your vehicle on a level surface, and set the parking brake.
- Roll up or remove loose clothing and keep your arms away from the cooling fan(s) when checking the power steering fluid. Fans can turn on automatically, even when the engine is off.
- Start the engine and let it run until the temperature gauge reaches the normal operating range.
- With the engine idling, turn the steering wheel all the way to full lock, and then turn it the other way to opposite lock. Do this several times.
- Turn off the engine, and open the hood
- Locate the power steering reservoir. It is usually on or near the engine, and can have a white or yellow reservoir and a black cap.
- Wipe the reservoir clean with a towel or rag to prevent dirt from getting in while you work on it.
- Check the fluid level in the reservoir. Depending on the reservoir type, you’ll either twist and pull out a dipstick, or view “MIN” and “MAX” lines on the outside of the reservoir.
- If the dipstick or reservoir level is between “MIN” and “MAX,” you don’t need to add fluid.
- If the fluid is below the “MIN” line, remove the cap (or leave the dipstick out) and add power steering fluid in small amounts, checking the level after each time. Don’t fill it above the “MAX” line.
- Replace the cap or dipstick, and make sure it’s sealed tight.
If you hear a groaning or whining noise when you turn the steering wheel, or if the steering wheel is very hard to turn, chances are your power steering system needs service.
If your steering wheel has lost all power assist, you should have it transported to the Dealership.