How To Flush Power Steering Fluid

Posted on: 8 March 2017

If you have trouble steering your vehicle, flush the power steering fluid. You should flush power steering fluid occasionally to keep it operating smoothly. Only modern vehicles have power steering, which helps you guide the wheels at slow speeds. A beginning DIY mechanic should be able to flush power steering fluid. 

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • work gloves
  • safety glasses
  • car jack stands
  • plastic container or drip pan
  • pliers
  • wrench fluid
  • return hose
  • power steering fluid

Consult your owner's manual to find out the power steering flush schedule suggestion. Many auto manufacturers suggest flushing the fluid every 100,000 miles for standard vehicles and every 35,000 to 40,000 miles for high-end vehicles.

Access the Steering Reservoir

Consult your owner's manual for the correct type of fluid to buy. Turn off the engine and let it cool if it has been running. Park the vehicle on even ground away from the grass. Set both sides of the vehicle on jack stands.

Prop the hood open and refer to the owner's manual for location of the power steering reservoir. There may be a drip catch on some vehicles underneath the assembly. If there isn't a drip pan, slide a container or drip pan under it to catch fluid. Don't proceed if you see leaks in the drip pan. Take the vehicle to a mechanic.

Remove the overflow tank from the radiator to reach the power steering reservoir easier. Set the overflow tank aside.

Detach the Fluid Return Hose

Look for the fluid return hose on the bottom of the power steering assembly. Use pliers to depress the clamps, and untwist the hose with the wrench. This could take a while, so be patient.

It is ideal to replace it with another while you drain fluid. Leave an end free to go in the container.

Drain the Fluid

Detach the cap on the reservoir. Absorb as much old fluid as possible with the turkey baster.

After most of the fluid is removed, get an assistant to move the wheel completely to the right, then left to make it lock as you add new fluid. Pour one-half the suggested amount. You should see fluid pouring in the drip pan or container.

After all fluid is removed, fill it to the suggested amount by the manufacturer. Close the cap and start the engine.

Have the assistant move the wheel left to right for five minutes. Listen for a buzz which indicates air is still in the system. Repeat until all air has been removed. Turn off the engine, open the cap, and add more fluid as needed.

Reattach the cap, the original return hose, and the overflow tank. Discard the old fluid. Test the steering wheel for proper operation.