Check your vehicles owner’s manual, you likely won’t find that “Change Power Steering Fluid” is listed as a maintenance item. Most manufacturers don’t consider it to be one but some mechanics do. The question is: Should you do it?
Power Steering Fluid
Well, it’s a matter of judgement. The truth be told, power steering fluid does age over time. When it is new, it is usually a clear-ruby color. As time goes on, usually many years, the ruby color turns darker as small amounts of dirt and other contaminants become suspended in the fluid. To many mechanics, this means that it’s time to change the fluid.
However, bear in mind that transmission fluid, which is similar to power steering fluid, become darker as it ages and that doesn’t mean it’s time to change it. In fact, most cars and trucks recommend that transmission fluid be changed after a certain mileage is reached, not because it has become darker.
So back to our original concern, should you change your power steering fluid? There are two things we can suggest. First look in your owner’s manual and see if it is recommended (it probably won’t be) and second, check with your local dealer or mechanic and see what they recommend.
That doesn’t mean that your power steering fluid doesn’t need to be checked occasionally, though. Generally power steering reservoirs have a stubby plastic “dipstick” on the filling cap or the container is translucent so you can see the level. Make sure you have enough. You also should check to see what type of power-steering fluid is required. The manufacturer may call for a specific type of fluid instead of a generic type found at hardware and automotive parts stores. This can be important so definitely check it first before you add fluid. If you are uncomfortable with doing this whole process, you should always contact your local dealer to have them provide you with a quote on the cost for a fluid exchange.