How to change power steering fluid | Autoblog Wrenched

Tips from an expert, and tools for doing it properly

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When you turn your steering wheel and it's stiff, that could mean that it's time for new power steering fluid. We'll show you how to change it on this Wrenched.

Watch all of our Autoblog Wrenched videos for more tips on how to diagnose, fix, and modify cars from professional detailer Larry Kosilla. While you're at it, check out Larry's other car cleaning and maintenance video series Autoblog Details!

Materials Used:

Instructions (video transcript):

[00:00:00] When you turn your steering wheel and it's stiff, hard to turn or worse, you hear this whine, (motor) Your power steering fluid might need to be topped off or flushed. Here's what you'll need to do the job. Turkey baster, catch can, safety glasses, gloves, power steering fluid, pliers, rags, and a funnel. I'm Larry Kosilla, pro detailer and trainer for the last 15 years, but it when it comes to what's under the hood, I'm the student. Follow me as experts teach me how to diagnose, fix

[00:00:30] and modify cars on autoblog's Wrenched. - All right Spence I got to be honest, I've never thought about changing my power steering fluid. When would be a good time to flush that? - Well they really don't have many recommendations if you look in your manual. There are three different ways to do this. The first one would be to look at the fluid and just fill up if necessary. The second one would be to suck out all the fluid out of the reservoir and put fresh fluid in it and the third would be to completely flush the system. - [Larry] Consult your manual

[00:01:00] for the manufacturer's recommended type of power steering fluid and then locate the reservoir. It will have a steering wheel logo or the words steering fluid and "Do not overfill" around the cap. Twist the cap and simply check the dipstick which will have dash lines indicating high and low levels and add more if it's low. Pretty simple. Option two is to use a turkey baster or vacuum pump to remove some of the old fluid and replace it with fresh fluid. This is a quick and non-messy way to get a cleaner percentage

[00:01:30] of dirty to clean fluid and it takes under five minutes to do. Option three as Spencer mentioned, is to flush the system. This will remove most, if not all of the old fluid and replace it with clean power steering fluid. First make sure your cars front wheels are off the ground as you'll need to turn the steering wheel freely for this method. Next, remove most of the fluid with a turkey baster as we did in option two but leave a little remaining fluid to avoid running the pump dry. Afterwards, slide your catch can under the power steering reservoir

[00:02:00] and find the low pressure line. Some systems will have a permanent clamp on the high pressure line, so look for the one with the removable clamp as this will be the low pressure line. Use pliers to unclamp the hose, then point the hose down into the catch can. (serene music) Next add fresh fluid to the reservoir and fill it up before starting the car for the flush. Now with an extra set of hands, start the car to get the pump to flush out the old fluid

[00:02:30] through the hose and into the catch can until the color changes to clear or clean. Don't allow the car to run for more than five to eight seconds as you don't want to run the steering pump dry. You'll know very quickly when the new fluid from the reservoir begins to shoot out of the hose, then it's time to shut off the engine. Take the used fluid to your auto parts store or hazardous waste collection center for recycling. Now that the fluid looks clean, replace the low pressure hose and clamp, then refill the power steering reservoir

[00:03:00] to the full line once again. Before you tighten the cap, turn the wheel back and forth to purge the system of air. Then start the car for 10 to 15 seconds to allow the power steering pump to suck in more fluid because sometimes you'll notice a drop in the fluid level as it fills the air pockets, so you're going to need to refill the reservoir as necessary. With the fluid looking full, go for a quick drive to build power steering temperature, then come back and check the levels once again and top off if necessary.

[00:03:30] Finally, double check your work by looking for leaks and clean up hoses from any earlier spills. This will help you notice any future leaks down the road. Keeping up with your power steering fluid is incredibly easy. Just remember, check your level and color every time you change your engine oil. By doing so, you could avoid the annoying squeal or permanently burning out your pump. For more how-to car repair videos, visit I'm Larry Kosilla from As always, thanks for watching.

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