Does power steering fluid ever need to be changed out?
protegextwo Member Posts: 1,265
edited May 2015 in Mazda
I own a pair 2000 Mazda Protege with a little over 35,000 miles on each. I asked my Mazda Service Advisor how often do I need to change the power steering fluid? He said, "never". He said, "that is one of the fluids we top off during normal maintenance". He said, "replenishment is enough"? BTW, the owners manual only suggests checking the power steering fluid every 7,500.
See Also: More Power to Your Steering
See Also: More Power to Your Steering
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Anyway, I just did a suck and refill (syphon out old replace with new) a few times on mine to try and do it the easy way without flushing out all old stuff.
This is the first time I did it, went 130,000 miles with no fluid change and my fluid also powers the cooling fan (yes, a hydraulic cooling fan) so personally, not sure it ever needs it but I did finally give in. Never replenished it in the first 130,000 though. It does not get used up.
It's probably one of those things that, if you let it go, it'll probably never fail in the amount of time most people keep their cars. Of course, some people will experience a failure, but I have a feeling the vast majority won't. I did have two cars with failed pumps though... a '68 Dart that I bought with 253,000 miles on it, that had a failed pump, and a '79 Newport that failed around the 240K or so mark. In both cases, they failed due to a leak, so if I added fluid, they'd be good for awhile until they leaked out again. In the Dart's case, I got it sealed about 6 months after I bought it, but then it failed again about 2 1/2 years later, so I just drove it without power steering. Hey, it was a good tricep-builder! About 40,000 miles later, I finally decided to get it fixed, but by that time the pump was so shot I needed a new one.
With the Newport I got it fixed almost immediately. How do power steering pumps typically fail? Do they usually start leaking, which leads to other problems, or do they just wear out?
just periodically check for hose/seal leaks and you will probably be fine.
gotta luv it
Well, in theory, that would be correct, but in the real world, you lose fluid, from leaks or from expansion pushing small amounts of fluid out the cap. Over time, fluid needs to be added.
It is a good preventive maintenance to pull as much as you can out of the resevoir and put new fluid in. The ideal situation would be to flush the system and put new fluid in it. That isn't always possible.
it is also possible to get a reasonable facsimile of a syphoned drainage tool out of the old piece of clean hose that will fit... fill it with clean fluid of the type you will be draining out, pinch both ends closed, put one end at the bottom of the jug you will be draining, put the other end lower than that so it drains into a bottle you can cap and take to the recycling center, and let the other end go. our old buddy gravity will do the heavy work.
Syringe? Well any pharmacy, clinics, hospitals...etc.
I use it to drain/syphon my power steering fluid, brake fluid and to pump ATF to my differential.
The tube by itself can be used for bleeding brake lines.
Hope this helps...
I think that you should note that power steering fluid is almost clear when new, but gets really dark within 12-14 months of use. Obviously, something's going on, so to be safe, I change mine every year.
I do it when I've got the car on the ramps for an oil change. I siphon out the old stuff, top off the reservoir, lift the car slightly with my floor jack, and then start the car and turn the steering wheel back and forth a few times to circulate the fresh fluid. Shut the car off, and repeat the process a couple of times to completely flush the old fluid out.
Take it for what it is worth, but I had never done it before on any car. I'd hate to think how old the fluid is in my 67 Galaxie Convertible!
Surprisingly, other vehicles I had with that many miles didn't have the sludged up ps fluid.
almost to the point of having the transmission fluids color-matched to the car with fords
My system is to remove the low-pressure return line from the power steering pump (usually a rubber hose with a clamp, not the one with the brass fitting (I have a Chevy, Dodge, and Ford, all look about the same)). I fashion an extension hose with a union. The union also serves to slow down the flow of fluid, which makes the project easier if the fluid isn't flying out of the pump faster than you can put it back in.
This project takes three people. One person is at the wheel, one is at the end of the hose, and one is at the pump. Start the car, and have the person at the wheel turn it lock to lock slowly. Have another person pour fluid into the top of the power steering pump resevoir. Be fast and have plenty of fluid handy -- I usually have on hand about two gallons of the appropriate fluid. The third person should be at the end of the hose with at least two one-gallon bottles to catch the excess. You'd be amazed at the crud that comes out. Be sure that the power steering resevoir doesn't bottom out. The person at the wheel needs to be ready to shut the car off quickly. And consider putting the front of the car on jacks to make it easier to turn the wheels.
Kind of messy, but fairly easy. An alternative is to pay the dealer to do it. Most have a special mechanical pump that does the job now. I've paid the local Ford dealer about $70 for this service, and they put in the Type F synthetic (yes, it does exists, but it runs about $20 a quart). Once every 50,000 miles is probably adequate. As I get older, and have a few extra dollars to spend, I've tended to pay others to do the jobs that make a mess. This has become one of them. The only time I've done it myself recently is when I replaced a pump on a 92 Explorer with 130,000 miles at the time. It was my own fault. I didn't flush the system the first time until the pump started moaning.
I don't understand why brake and powersteering fluid are routinely left out of the maintenence manuals.
Old fluid was black but did not show any sediment, new fluid was clear.
Ok, count me in on this one too
Good Morning everyone!
Over the years i have thought about flushing it but somehow it has never happened. I havent had any problems at all with the steering.
I just flashed on an interesting fact: I havent even changed the shocks. I think i'l take a look and make sure they are not leaking.
By the way, I have found that the low pressure return hose is usually fairly brittle and hard when I pull it off. It usually slides off fairly easy, and I usually replace it (a fuel line hose works pretty well as a replacement).
spokane: try turning the pump by hand. Trust me, you'll get awfully tired before you move 2 quarts through that pump. That is the method I used to prime the new pump I had to install. It took a lot of turning to get the system primed with fluid. Once it is primed, it is a chore to turn that pump.
The drill sounds like an interesting idea. Most pumps are designed to receive a 1/2-inch socket drive in the end of the pully shaft. That could work.
I haven't changed the fluid on any other vehicle but my Jeep XJ Cherokee. On the XJ, there is a hose clamp at the bottom of the p/s fluid reservoir; remove the clamp, and it drains out quite easily. It's a recirculating-ball p/s system though; I don't know if rack-n-pinion systems drain this easily, or if you are forced to suction out the fluid to change it.
I used my 06810 unit to suction out the power steering fluid supply chamber on a 1996 Chrysler Concorde-- no mess, no fuss, but several dumpings of the little bottle on the unit.
I don't think it had ever been changed by the previous owner and I now have 158K miles on the clock. The fluid looked like syrup - very dark. I refilled the reservoir, started the vehicle and moved the steering wheel around to circulate the new fluid. I drained the reservoir another time to remove more of the dirty fluid. After the second drain and fill, the fluid looked much better than the original stuff although it is still not very clean looking. I think its the best I am going to do without pumping out the entire system.
The only place I have found Honda approved PSF is at Wal-Mart and of course the dealership.
Power steering never had so much as a tiny problem, transmission was just about to fail at 198,000 miles when I traded it in Thursday.
This of course makes me wonder whether it really is a necessary thing to do. I guess every once in a while can't hurt, but mightn't really help either.
The car in question was a 1985 Toyota Camry.
clever enough use
seriously, not a problem, I once slammed a hunkajunk together to spot-texture a spot on a wall about the same way. it even worked for a few seconds, enough to texture over a crack patch good enough to fool visitors. then the top blew off, and textured me if I had used a Mason screw-on jar, that wouldn't have happened.
also, there is a cap on the side of my resevior, it is shaped like the radiator cap but it is like the size of the entire side of the resevior. it is at an odd angle so i haven't been able to see if it is labled anything. any clues on that either?
it's not unusual for individual cars in a production run to have one or another fluid a bit low. watching an assembly line run if you get the chance is kinda cool... for instance, Ford Twin Cities has a semicircular rack of a/c charging stations cycling overhead... spin the hoses onto the a/c ports and stand back -- vacuum, oil, fill, and test is a 2-minute job. every once in a while, a charging station is nicht gut, and a truck will get a deficiency card under the wiper, and somebody will have to tweak it before delivery.
since you have a new car, that's probably the cause if the PS fluid is really low, an automatic gizmo choked in filling it. dealer prep is supposed to find and fix these things, but 5 to 10% of everything built has something screwed up. that's what warranty is all about.
I got into a long dissertation with a dimwit that changing fluids was cheap..........until I realized an old saying:
PENNYWISE................+ POUND FOOLISH!
My dad paid dearly for his mechanical ignorance and I do a lot of my own maintenance. Plus in a weird way maybe I possess the "spring Cleaning Fever" women do: its satisfying for me to check the car over and know its clean. Its cheaper to err on the too frequent changes than too long. Cars cost so damn much that I do what I can to keep mine running.